Scapegoating: a feel good syndrome

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Everyone has problems but only a few take care of their problems. Many others avoid responsibilities and even try to feel justified. To achieve this, they displace their frustration on and unduly blame others for their calamities. This is called scapegoating.

Scapegoating is a theory in social psychology and sociology used to describe the possibility and tendency of a dominant group to blame another group or someone for their own problems. The scapegoats who have been selected to bear the faults are powerless and usually minorities.

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This theory originated from the biblical setting of a goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish Chief Priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it.

Scapegoating is a feel good syndrome because it applies to individuals not just the broad terms of minority and dominant groups. People simply scapegoat by blaming their counterparts or the status quo for their mistakes and problems. A good example is a student that blames his course mate for failing a course because the mate refused to lend out his note.

Why do people scapegoat?

The foremost reason for scapegoating is inability to take responsibilities. People never want to accept the reasons for their problems or the problem itself. The unfunny thing is their attempt to feel self-pleased by displacing their uncomfortable feelings, anger and frustration on others. The sad truth is their psyche won’t develop because they never realize their mistakes and can’t challenge their mind to solve even their personal problems.

Furthermore, humans derive pleasure in oppressing others. They naturally want to feel superior at the expense of someone else. Example is SARS to students; lecturers to cleaners and even class rep. to students. Scapegoating can be seen in terms of bullying because the scapegoats are powerless and can’t retaliate. This is an ill because it promotes inferiority and injustice.

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Scapegoating can cost lives

Scapegoating exceeds blame. People who scapegoat go as far as destroying life and properties of others who they feel are the cause of their suffering. Example is the Rwandan genocide years back where the Hutus blamed and killed the Tutsis because of the death of the then President who was a Hutu. This caused about 800,000 deaths in Rwanda.

Just that seemingly little act you make to always criticize others for your own distress is scapegoating which can gradually lead to the unexpected. If you have a problem, accept it and work to solve it. Don’t transfer your aggression for your wrongdoings, mistakes and faults because you want to feel good and flawless. Why feel good at the expense of others?

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