Realistic Conflict Theory: This theory is one way to help explain why prejudice arises. It states that hostility arises between groups as a result of conflicting goals and competition over limited resources. Feelings of resentment arise because groups see the competition over resources as having only one winner- that is to say- only one group wins.
My high school, Ladue had as it’s rival, Clayton High School. Starting in elementary school, it was ingrained into our brains that Clayton was worse than Ladue. We competed with Clayton in everything from sports to academics.
The competition to be number one caused Ladue and Clayton to butt heads. We knew that there could only be one number one- and both of the schools fought for that spot. This competition grew into hostility and even prejudice- as we viewed our school as better than Clayton. Looking back- it seems silly how much we put into “playing the game of prejudice”- but it seems like it is almost part of being human. We like to be on the winning side!! The realistic conflict theory helps to explain this ever present rivalry between Ladue and Clayton.