Steps to achieve Social Integration
In today’s society psychologists agree that rather than expecting every one to be alike we must learn to respect and appreciate our differences. Multiculturalism as this is called, gives equal status to different ethnic cultural groups. It is the recognition and acceptance of human diversity that will ensure that different social groups can be kept together in an integrated manner. Diving comfortably in a multicultural society means getting to know a little about other groups. Getting acquainted with a person whose cultural background is different from our own can be a wonderful learning experience. Many prejudices and inter group tensions stem from ignorance. Therefore, educating the population about the customs, traditions, rituals and other behavioral patterns of different groups in society can help to remove misunderstanding and bringing about social integration.
Stereotypes make the social world more manageable by placing people in categories almost always causes them to appear more similar than they are and as a result you tend to see out group members as very much alike even when they are as varied as our friends and family.
Both prejudiced and unprejudiced people are equally aware of stereotypes. However unprejudiced people work hard to inhibit stereotyped thoughts and to emphasise fairness and equality. Good way to tear down stereotypes is individuating information i.e. the information that helps us to see a person as an individual rather than as a member of a group. Anything that keeps us from placing a person in a particular category tends to make us negate the stereotyped thinking. When we meet individuals, we must focus on the person and not the label attached on him/her. Equal status inter group contact can be of help in this regard. We must also take steps to check our self fulfilling prophecies as they also serve to increase our prejudices.
As a result of discrimination, social conditions and other circumstances, minority groups may occupy lower socio economic positions. “First world beliefs” i.e. people get what they deserve can lead us to assume that minority groups would not have been in such position if they were not inferior. This type of faulty thinking amid to blaming people who are the victims of prejudice and discrimination for their plight. Therefore, we must not fall prey in the just world beliefs.