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Scapegoats in Society

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Question 1 The key idea under consideration is that societies under stress sometimes use 'outsider' groups as scapegoats. The concept of the scapegoat has its origins in the religion and culture of the Hebrew people. They celebrate a festival called Yom Kippur (the day of Atonement). Yom Kippur is a day of confession, confession, repentance and prayers for forgiveness of sins committed during the year against the laws and covenant of God. The Festival is centred upon a ritual in which all of the sins that all of the Hebrew people have gained are symbolically put onto a sacrificial goat. The goat is then banished into the wilderness, therefore leaving the people free of guilt and are then able to start fresh. The modern concept of the scapegoat is someone who takes the blame for others, which originated in the mentioned festival. "In different countries at different times groups of people have been identified, stereotyped and then scapegoated by people who have economic, political and social power." ...read more.


Although, as I researched deeper I found that Anti-Semitism has a much older history: "It was in the Christian Europe that Anti-Semitism became a deeply rooted prejudice. In medieval Europe the Jews were officially and popularly regarded as being guilty of Christ's death on the cross in the 1st century Roman Palestine..." (Adapted from Cohn, Norman: warrant for Genocide, London 1967). Cohn goes onto say that the 'murder of God' was an "explosive accusation" which carried onto the 20th century resulting in many deaths of innocent Jews. The sources of evidence booklet, source five, reinforces this view: The implication here is that the Jews were wholly to blame for Germany's economic problem. This has led to poverty and unemployment both of which are common causes of scapegoating. The Jews were also blamed for Germany's defeat in World War 1 and at that prejudice and discrimination became more noticeable. This intensified during the economic depression, which followed. Whenever scapegoats are created, a culture of blame, resentment and often-crude stereotypes are found beneath the thin covering of excuses used to justify the persecution which follows: "Accusations against Jews included ...read more.


This lead to mass conflict: "Many whites, who already looked down on the blacks as 'inferior', now feared them as rivals." (Scott J. The World Since 1913, London, 1982). This, whites competing with black is also shown in the source of evidence pamphlet. Source 11 is adapted from a National Front leaflet and states that "British jobs for British workers!" This tells me that the National Front thinks that they British people should be first in line for employment. The National Front leaflet also describes Britain as a "dumping ground" for the surplus population of the West Indies, Asia and Africa. What is evident from my research is that scapegoating can occur for many reasons such as, cultural differences, religious fanaticism, socio-economic envy and resentment. The struggle to create a free, democratic, fair, and rational society is still the main political and social issue of human life. Those targeted as outsider groups take the blame for others. Even though some societies are multicultural, scapegoating and it's horrific consequences seems to be a problem that is unlikely to be eradicated in the future. ...read more.

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