The frustration-aggression hypothesis underpins itself on the psychodynamic approach whereby it assumes that aggression is a result of frustration. The hypothesis theorizes that when individuals are frustrated, they develop a drive to be aggressive toward the cause of their frustration. However, this is often impossible or inappropriate and, therefore, they displace the source of their aggression on something or someone else (Breuer & Elson, 2017). Breuer and Elson elucidate that frustration-aggression involves an individual relieving emotional tension through an unconscious defense mechanism whereby their mind diverts the aggression emotions from the original source of the frustration to something less threatening or dangerous. Thus, when external factors block a person’s efforts to reach a goal, he/she experiences frustration that can in turn lead to aggressive behavior.
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The symbolic interactionist theory of prejudice maintains that symbols of race and ethnicity, not race or ethnicity themselves, are what lead to prejudice. According to Morrione (2021), racial and ethnic prejudice are formed through interactions between members of the dominant group. Morrione elucidates that without the interactions, members of the dominant group would not have a prejudice against the minority group. The interactions contribute to the dominant group creating a perceived picture of the subordinate group; this allows the dominant group to support its preconceived views of the subordinate group. For instance, an individual whose beliefs about a particular group are solely based on images conveyed in popular media, the individual unquestionably believes the images because he/she has never personally interacted with the group (Carter & Fuller, 2015). Thus, symbolic interaction allows the dominant group to maintain the status quo.
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