Knowledge claim: Emotions such as fear can be so strong as to counter logic and reason. Fear may cause biased perceptions or generalisations. This may lead to the rationalisation of prejudices or justifications of illogical actions or opinions.Despite the obvious need for advanced countries to help refugee crisis, many developed countries are refusing or severely limiting refugees to enter their territories. However, today’s climate is very divisive, and fear is surging.
Politicians are masters at summoning fear and using fear to validate their agenda. In order to invoke fear in civilians about refugees, many politicians use impulsive generalisations and emphasize and feign connections between refugees and terrorism and Islamic extremists. They may perpetuate the belief that refugees are not capable or educated. This leads to the question of “To what extent can stereotypes affect our reasoning?” People tend to look for things that support their stereotype and ignore the evidence that contradicts them. This leads to the point that people selectively choose sources where they can trust and rely on the information and content provided. They decide on particular news stations to watch and particular online sources to read. A lot of people’s views of the refugee crisis are based on shared knowledge of news, from online articles to television. Certainly there are some media outlets that are more conservative and others that have more liberal views.
If a person is only learning from right-wing based news, he may already believe refugees are dangerous and drain his country’s resources. Once people already have fears of refugees affecting their lives, they are more easily influenced by politicians who can play up to their fears. People also like to generalise from insufficient evidence. This raises the question of “How can media shape our perception of reality?”Culture plays a big role in a person’s preconceived notions. Schema is a mental representation based on previous knowledge and experience and affects an individual’s reasoning.
Being raised in a more diverse and educated environment may make people more open to social diversity. However, fear may contribute to more biases or generalisations.However, emotions of compassion may help counter impact of fear. Photos of Omran Daqneesh, the five year old boy from Aleppo whose dusty bloody face, captured the world’s attention and became the symbol of the horrors of the Syrian war. Similarly, The gut-wrenching image of Aylan Kurdi, the three year old refugee, motionless on the Turkish shore has touched the entire world. These well-known images of the suffering children brought out compassion as the world pledged to do more for refugees.
This brings up the question “To what extent can compassion override fear with respect to decision making?”