Prejudice and Discrimination

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Bethany Norris – Unit 1 – Prejudice and Discrimination
Part One
The dictionary defines prejudice as an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge. This means that a person may form an opinion on a person or a particular group of people without having any facts or knowledge about that person or group. Prejudice is normally perceived as being bad but there are some instances where prejudice is an aid to survival for example if you see several scruffy men parked in a van in a dark alley, you will form a pre judgment that they must be up to no good so you choose to not walk down the alley. They could simply be movers, but healthy prejudice tells you not to take the chance. Discrimination

Direct discrimination is defined as treating one particular group of people less favourably than others because of their race, colour, nationality, or ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. There is also positive discrimination in which an individual is allowed to advance themselves because of their gender, race, sexually orientation, age etc. Example if an Asian person is hired simply because they are Asian due to the stereotype that Asians are smart and good students that’s a positive discrimination. Indirect discrimination is defined as an apparently neutral specification, criteria or practice that would disadvantage people on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation unless the practice can be objectively justified. For example a department store prohibits its employees from wearing hats when serving customers. This rule means that people whose religious beliefs require them to cover their heads, such as Muslim women, are discriminated against and cannot carry out their job. The store is indirectly discriminating against this group of people unless it can demonstrate that there is valid reason.

Stereotyping is a generalisation of people, which is usually negative, untrue, and unjustifiable. The term labelling is used when we take look at a person and place a label on them and then place them in a category for example we could label someone gay because they seem camp even though they may not be gay. People stereotype as it helps people to deal with individuals who are different from themselves. It makes people feel safe and in their own mind stereotypes allow them to justify their actions towards people. Stereotypes can become self-fulfilling prophecies if the stereotype is re-enforced enough. For example, girls maybe stereotyped as failing more math’s exams than boys this will lead to girls failing to try in exams, as they believe that they are expected to fail. Scapegoating

Scapegoating is the practice of singling out an individual or group for unmerited negative treatment or blame. The word “scapegoat” actually originates from Leviticus 16 in the bible. A goat had all the sins of man placed upon it and it was sent into the wilderness to perish. An example of scapegoating is the Salem Witch Trials. Women were used as scapegoats when the crops were bad or there was a famine and then tried as witches. This was especially the case with midwives, as they would be accused of being in league with Satan if the baby died during birth, which happened frequently due to poor standards of hygiene etc. Part Two

Case Study 1
During the first part of the 20th century, deaf people were directly discriminated against due to them being labeled as deaf and dumb. They were prevented from entering mainstream education and were not considered for any high paying jobs. Most deaf children were sent away to deaf schools and some were sent to asylums, even though they were not mentally ill. However, by sending a sane child to an asylum the stereotype of deaf children being mentally ill became a self-fulfilling prophecy as most the children within the asylum did eventually develop some...
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