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NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Equality and Diversity
Unit 1: Exploring Equality and Diversity

Session 4: Prejudice and discrimination

What does it mean?

In a diverse society where each individual may have lots of different characteristics and qualities, there are many opportunities for people to label and stereotype others. When this happens, it can create an environment where prejudice and discrimination may be found.

A prejudice is an unfair or unreasonable preconceived view or judgement that is formed without being based on any specific grounds or sufficient knowledge.

Discrimination means treating a person or group differently, often in a negative manner, based upon one or a small number of characteristics.

Stereotypes can sometimes be positive – however, this is not the case when it comes to prejudice. With prejudice, the views held about certain groups of people are negative, they are applied to an entire group and they tend to be strongly held. So, the group (with possibly a different gender / race / ethnic origin / sexual orientation or with a disability) will be described in negative ways. They will be called things such as ‘lazy’, ‘stupid’, ‘weak’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘untrustworthy’.

In communities and societies where prejudice and discrimination are found, people will have fewer life chances and a poorer quality of life. Given that prejudices can be so damaging, it is worth looking at how people develop them.

How people may develop prejudices

There are many ways that people may develop prejudices. Two of the most common are:

1. Socialisation
The most likely way that people will develop prejudices is to learn them from other people, such as family and friends. An individual will experience the views of these people on a daily basis, and there will also be the influences of the media and the views of high profile people.

If a young person with no alternative points of reference is exposed to prejudices that are stated...
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