Sociologists hold that the emotionality in discrimination and oppression results from the intuitive attitudes and personalities that give people feelings and thoughts of inadequacy or superiority. By using the less fortunate people as the scapegoats, the privileged parties can do whatever they want at the expense of the minority. Their attitudes and personalities of superiority dictate what goes on in the society. The feeling of superiority, for example, makes one hate and discriminate particular groups of people such as the minority. In turn, the minorities acquire the feelings of inadequacy from subsequent mistreatments and eventually accept their disadvantaged state in the society.
Social scientists also identify socialization as another key factor to discrimination and oppression. Many forms of discrimination are passed on from parents, relatives, and friends. People tend to learn on what it takes to discriminate against others from their social circles. The media are another way through which people socialize. Movies and television usually perpetuate demeaning stereotypes and images about assorted groups in the society. They show how women, the elderly, ethnic minorities and gays are mistreated. One then learns that it serves no wrong to do the same against the perceived unfortunate groups.
Ethnocentrism is one the main factors that lead to discrimination and oppression. With ethnocentrism, one tends to assess other’s cultures from one’s own cultural values and norms. People tend to value what they know and their cultures, and disregard the cultures of others. Ethnocentrism also leads to suspicion where one cannot trust people from outside their cultures and norms. The stereotypical thinking is the one behind the various instances of racial and ethnic discriminations.