Changing Patterns of Prejudice: A New Look at Today's Racial, Religious, and Cultural Tensions

Changing Patterns of Prejudice: A New Look at Today's Racial, Religious, and Cultural Tensions

Changing Patterns of Prejudice: A New Look at Today's Racial, Religious, and Cultural Tensions

Changing Patterns of Prejudice: A New Look at Today's Racial, Religious, and Cultural Tensions

Excerpt

One of the specialized streams of the practice of medicine, originated in an attempt to help the mentally ill individual, is psychiatry. This task alone is sufficiently formidable to keep the practitioners in the field occupied for an indefinite future. On the other hand, we also recognize the necessity of being interested in the solution of social problems that affect mental health. Hence there is a small segment of psychiatry concerned with the applications of clinical knowledge to the problems of social living.

It has been impossible for those of us engaged in the field of psychiatry not to recognize that there is a direct relationship between social forces in society and the mental health of the individual. We may not always know what that relationship is. But we know that there is one, that we should understand it better, and that those forces which contribute to mental illness must be counteracted.

Obviously the ills of society will be little affected by the application of knowledge obtained from psychiatry alone. These problems are so vast and complex that they can only be tackled by pooling the experiences and efforts of many types of social scientists, in collaboration with educators, lawyers, ministers and many others. But we psychiatrists and our colleagues, the psychologists, must make our special contribution if we are to fulfill our obligation. The trouble is, though, that we have so little knowledge. Our experience is very limited. . . . Hence the significance of this book on a major social problem of our society--prejudice. There are those who argue that we social scientists shouldn't take a hand in these matters until all evidence is in--until there is more knowledge. Early in this . . .

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