West Side Story by Arthur Laurents

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In the book West Side Story by Arthur Laurents there were many prejudices. Prejudice is a favoring or dislike of something without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge. There were prejudices in West Side Story that had to do with the types of people, their races and sex. Sometimes prejudice can be in small doses and can be meaningless, other times prejudice can be very serious and cause death. Prejudice was the theme of this story, there are many examples. For instance, an act of prejudice in West Side Story was the Puerto Ricans disliking the Americans and vice versa.

The PR’s diskliked the Americans because the first day, Bernardo (leader of PR gang) was jumped by one of the Jets. The Jets wouldn’t let the PR’s come on their turf, such as Doc’s store. The PR’s were not wanted in the U. S. and they were given a hard time. The American’s were prejudiced of the Puerto Ricans, so they did cruel things to them. Another act of prejudice in West Side Story was the Jets having prejudice against Anybody’s joining their gang. They told her to go wear a dress, she wittily replied that she had scabby knees.

She told them that she lurks in the shadows and even provided the Jets with important information. She had a haircut like a boy’s and wore boy clothes. This could be a prejudice beyond having a girl in a gang, it could be that they have a prejudice against homosexuals, the fact that the stereotype of lesbians play a role in the character of Anybody’s. There were little prejudices passed around in West Side Story. Some people saw through that, some people tried to stop that foolish behavior. Glad Hand, the administrator of the dance, he tried to get everybody to stop acting that way.

Glad Hand made everybody split up across the room, and then whoever was directly across from each other danced together. Doc tried to stop the gangs from having the war council, he told them basically to grow up and stop their childishness. Doc and Glad Hand couldn’t stop the fighting. Tony saw through the prejudice though, he loved one of the PR’s and when the Jets found out, they were ashamed. Tony’s love for Maria was so real, he didn’t care what happened. He died. Prejudice plagues this world now and forever, as long as there is a difference in people there will discrimination and prejudice.

For example, the fact that a black man was fired at 41 times and hit 19 times by 4 white cops. The cops had a good excuse for the shooting, they thought he had a gun when he was fumbling with something in the dark. This was clearly an act of prejudice against African Americans. Then the fact that white cops were beating on the blacks at the rally because of that mans death. People are allowed to have their opinions, but to act out in a violent way and to get away with it, now that is a disgrace.

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