Learned traits can build or destroy a society. Prejudice is a learned trait that is born out of ignorance. Prejudice happens when we choose to have an opinion mostly negative on something or someone without any reason, facts or experience. In the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the author effectively addresses the issue of prejudice and its harmful effects through a creature that was brought to life by Victor. The author explicitly portrays prejudice as an unfortunately learned trait that continues to plague the human race even when its dangers are clear. Mary shows how undeserved prejudice has the capacity to destroy the very fabrics that hold our society together. Prejudice can yield loneliness, anger, shame and revenge. The creature in Frankenstein is faced with undeserving prejudice and the result is destruction. The story of Frankenstein is a warning on the dangers of prejudice.
In most parts of the book, the creature is prejudiced because of it looks which yields anger within it. Most notably is at the start of the novel where the creature’s creator abandons it upon realization of what he had just created (Shelley 42). The creature however later on realizes that the prejudice it faced was also used among humans. As Felix teaches Safie from the book Ruins of Empires, he weeps with her over the prejudice her father experienced. Safie’s father was a victim of religious prejudice because he was a Turk living in a Christian society. This got him arrested. Despite numerous efforts to eliminate religious and racial prejudice, this evil trait remains rampant today. People continue to be opinionated on the basis of color and religion. Today, Muslims are the biggest victims of religious prejudice while blacks fall victim to racial prejudice. Anti-Muslim prejudice is particularly popular in western societies (Shaver et al. 4).
Our political scene is a perfect example of where racial and religious prejudice has found a home despite insistence on a lack of it. Failure to address prejudice in society is mainly due to a lack of awareness of bias and consequences of such bias (Devin et al. 3). Racial politics shape the decisions of most Americans on whom to choose as their leader. The policies of these leaders are to a huge extent determined by their view on racism and the profound effect it has on politics and the economy. One cause of racial prejudice is a false sense of superiority. On the other side, historical injustices hatch racial prejudice. While some races have been made to feel superior, others have continuously felt marginalized, discriminated against and criminalized for no reason. All this boils down to having a perspective which is on most occasions not objective.
Religious prejudice on the other hand, is a result of radicalization and ignorance. Blanket condemnation of one man’s action only serves to stir up religious strife. People choose to see actions such as terrorism not from an individual point of view but a religious point of view. The actions of one man are hounded upon a whole religion. Tolerance should be given a chance if we are to mitigate and possibly eliminate racial and religious prejudice. Religious and racial tolerance coupled with the acceptance no one is superior to the other can go a long way in fixing things. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein shows how blinded prejudice is a recipe for disaster. Those that feel unfairly prejudiced are likely to seek ways to avenge. The end result is anarchy that yields bloodshed. As human beings, we should come together and not isolate and also give a chance to what lies within us as opposed to what is visible.
- Devine, Patricia G. et al. “Long-Term Reduction In Implicit Race Bias: A Prejudice Habit-Breaking Intervention.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48.6 (2012): 1267-1278. Web.
- Shaver, John H. et al. “Religion And The Unmaking Of Prejudice Toward Muslims: Evidence From A Large National Sample.” PLOS ONE 11.3 (2016): e0150209. Web.
- Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. New York: Baronet Books, 2008. Print.