Prejudice and Discrimination

Topics: Social psychology, Discrimination, Authoritarian personality Pages: 8 (2694 words) Published: February 22, 2013
Prejudice and discrimination
Prejudice as defined by John E Farley is “that prejudice refers to a positive or a negative attitude or belief directed toward certain people based on their membership in a particular group. The root word of prejudice is pre-judge. It is a set of attitudes which causes, supports, or justifies discrimination”. (Farley, 2000, p18).

There are three components of prejudice which describe the different elements associated with it. Affectual one’s inner feeling which can be the result of incitement and are in accordance with people’s likes and dislikes. Behavioural the way people action their belief systems causing them to behave in a certain way. Cognitive the preconceived beliefs or expectations and involves stereotyping which usually are negative.

Discrimination can be defined as the making of, a for or against action towards a person based on group, class, or a category to which they belong, rather than judge a person on their merit .This is the external representation of internal prejudice. Baron and Byrne (1997) defined discrimination as “negative behaviours directed towards people who are the object of prejudice”.

Allport (1954) suggests that there are five stages of discrimination. Anti-locution would include incitement by speech for example racially motivated or sectarian jokes. Avoidance where failing to include people without considering their capabilities means people in minority groups are continuously avoided by the individuals of the majority group. Although no harm is meant, harm is still done through isolation. Discrimination comprises of a denying opportunities to a minority group or person with the intent of deliberately preventing them from receiving services or goals such as education and employment. Physical Attack involves the deliberate vandalising of or violent attacks on individuals and their property. Extermination is ethnic cleansing in an attempt to annihilate an entire race of peoples. (Allport, 1954, p71)

It is difficult to distinguish the differences in the relationship between prejudice and discrimination. Our emotions and evaluations of others essentially reflects our prejudices, whereas rejection and concerns of acceptance describe our discriminations. Therefore someone who shows discrimination may not be prejudice. (Wagstaff, 2005, p1). Prejudice is a person or group attitude which may or may not develop into discrimination. It is an attitude as opposed to an action. Discrimination is not always the result of prejudice. There are cases where prejudice is not needed for discrimination whilst the law prevents prejudice from becoming discrimination now; this was not always the case. In some cases the law makes people discriminate, whether they feel prejudice or not. (Haralambos & Rice, 2002, p272).

An example of this was LaPierre’s study which examined willingness to display prejudice and discrimination to a Chinese couple at a time of anti-oriental sentiment. He travelled across America with the couple, in total they visited over 250 establishments and were refused service only once. After returning home LaPierre sent letters to all the establishments visited asking if they would serve members of the Chinese race 91% replied no they would not. Critics have also stated that the letters may have gone to the managers or owners of the establishments who may have been prejudiced themselves while staff were not. Furthermore they may also have thought they were reflecting the wishes of their guests. Another reason they may have been served is because LaPierre accompanied them. The couple spoke excellent English, they were well presented and courteous this could all help towards being accepted as guests. There are many flaws in this study but it does show there are differences between prejudice and discrimination. (Haralambos & Rice, 2002, p272).

A school teacher Elliot (1977) conducted an experiment in order to help...
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