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The Impact of Prejudice and Discrimination on Society

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The Impact of Prejudice and Discrimination on Society

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  • March 2011
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Equal opportunities Assignment 1

This report will attempt to explain the meaning and implications of the terms Prejudice, Discrimination, Stereotyping, and Scapegoat. It will also look at two case studies in order to illustrate prejudice and discrimination in action.

Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice and Discrimination are difficult to separate as they typically appear together. Prejudice is defined as “A preconceived opinion”. while Discrimination is defined as “Biased or unfavourable treatment”, both taken from Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus 3 (Oxford University Press, 2001). Discrimination converts the mental process of prejudice into action. It is wildly accepted that discrimination is the action, while prejudice is the thought.

Both of these terms can be used in a positive sense in an attempt add a modicum of equality to society. For example, disabled drivers receive the most convenient parking spaces and people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia receive extra assistance within the education system. However this can often leave other sections of the the population feeling prejudiced and/or discriminated against.

Prejudice and discrimination are more often seen for their negative impact on society; the treatment of blacks in the US during the 19th and 20th century, and Hitler's treatment of the Jews during WW2 are examples of prejudice leading to discrimination. In both of these scenarios the seeds of prejudice filtered down from the higher echelons of power. The white population of America were told that blacks were second class citizens; the population believed their government would only tell them the truth, and this propaganda set the seeds of prejudice, and discrimination began to blossom. Hitler persecuted the Jews because he hated them. He blamed them for Germany’s economic and social problems. The Jews were also blamed for Germany's defeat in World War 1. The German people took the prejudice from their government and...