Prejudice, racism and discrimination

bias is a preconceived opinion about a person or group that is not based on an objective reason.

The racism is the belief that people belonging to different races and that one race is superior to others.

The discrimination is action based on prejudice and occurs when there is a differential treatment to someone for being part of a group, category or class.

DefinitionA prejudice is a preconceived opinion about a person or group, which is not based on previous experience, nor is it based on an objective reason.Racism is the belief that members of a race possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities attributed to that race.Discrimination is differential treatment (unfair or negative) directed towards a person for belonging to a certain class, group or category (such as ethnic origin, gender and age). It is a prejudice taken into action.
ReasonBased on the lack of knowledge, training received and social dynamics of the group of those who maintain it.It is the result of a prejudice, the cause of which may be dislike or hatred towards people with different physical characteristics, such as skin tone, customs, traditions, language or place of birth.It is caused by the prejudice that exists towards people of different age, gender, ethnic group, abilities, sexual orientation, educational level, marital status or family background.
ConsequencesIt can lead to racism or discrimination towards a certain group.It can lead to discrimination or racial prejudice.It leads to the rejection and exclusion of a certain group of people, causing social exclusion, bullying , racial segregation and other similar practices.
ManifestationIt can be a belief or an attitude.It can be a belief or an attitude.It is an action, based on a prejudice.
NatureUnconscious.Conscious and unconscious.Conscious and unconscious.
ExamplesWhen someone considers that people from a social or poor neighborhood are dangerous for living in that place.When a person believes that an individual has violent tendencies based on their skin color or the ethnic group to which they belong.When men and women have the same professional and academic qualifications to perform a job, but there is a wage inequality that favors men.

What is prejudice?

The word prejudice refers to a preconceived attitude that is maintained about an individual or group, without facts or objective reasons that motivate it.

This word is often used to refer to a negative attitude that someone has towards the members of a certain group. For example, when someone considers an individual or group to be different or inferior due to their ethnic or racial origin, their gender, nationality, social status, sexual orientation or their religion.

Characteristics of prejudices

  • If it is negative, it is derogatory, against someone or something; When it has a positive character, it can manifest itself as a preference for something or someone.
  • It can present itself on an emotional level, such as, for example, having negative feelings towards a person simply because they are considered a member of a group.
  • It can occur at the behavioral level, generating behaviors that can lead to violence or discrimination.
  • It can occur on a cognitive level, based on beliefs or stereotypes, and ignoring objective facts.
  • It is resistant to change, even when there are elements that prove that a perspective on someone is not correct, the prejudice generally remains.
  • It has a social origin and is affected by intergroup relations.
  • The way a prejudice is adopted and maintained is unique to each individual.

Types of prejudice

  • Racism: the belief that members of a group share specific characteristics that make them inferior to another group.
  • Sexism: the supposed idea that members of one sex are inferior because they are of that sex. Generally, it is directed against women by men.
  • Homophobia: antipathy, contempt, aversion or hatred of people with a different sexual orientation, specifically towards homosexual people.
  • Religious discrimination: valuing or disparaging a person or group due to their religious beliefs.

What is racism?

Racism is the belief that members of a race possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities and that these characteristics determine their superiority.

Racism takes the form of actions, social beliefs, practices, and policies against individuals for being members of a specific race.

Characteristics of racism

  • It can be both individual (personal beliefs and assumptions) and systemic or institutionalized (policies of segregation of a State).
  • Reference is made to the idea of ​​race to categorize and divide people and groups.
  • It proposes the superiority of one group over another, as well as their respective members.
  • Many physical differences are based on phenotypic traits, such as skin or hair color.
  • Racial or ethnic stereotypes are used to delimit the social status, type of work, educational level and other variables that an individual possesses.
  • It promotes racial segregation, both explicitly and subtly.
  • Condescension and presumption of inferiority about the abilities of members of another racial group (for example, believing that members of one race do not have the same intellectual capacity as members of another race).
  • It promotes an environment of ignorance or indifference about the cultural practices, traditions and social problems of other racial groups.
  • Maintains a bias on the negative aspects of other groups. For example, maintaining that members of a certain group have a stronger natural inclination towards crime and violence, due to the fact of belonging to a race.
  • Those who practice racism do not recognize the prejudice on which it is based or the consequences it has on those who suffer it.

Types of racism

  • Individual racism: opinions or personal actions, offenses and explicit attacks that one person commits against another because of their race, with the intention of causing harm.
  • Discrimination or racial segregation: it is the separation of groups through a process of social division.
  • Systemic or institutional racism: racial discrimination by governments, corporations, religious and educational institutions or other large organizations that influence people’s lives.
  • Racism and civil rights: in this area are the historical, economic or social disparity caused by past racism. Its repercussions reach current generations, manifesting in racist attitudes and unconscious actions of people.
  • Cultural racism: occurs when cultural values ​​and practices are defined by the members of a racial group, as the standard of “high culture” or “true art”, ignoring or even eliminating the cultural practices and perceptions about the art of other groups.

Learn more about the Difference between racism and xenophobia .

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is the expression of a prejudice in an action. It occurs when there is a differential behavior towards the members of a group, generally negative, for reasons of their origin, sex, belonging to a group, sexual orientation, age or any other affiliation.

Discrimination implies the rejection of members of a different group, through unfavorable, different, offensive or exclusive treatment.

A person does not necessarily commit a discriminatory act when they are prejudiced or racist, since for it to be discrimination, this person has to commit some action.

Characteristics of discrimination

  • Being the expression of a prejudice, negative discrimination is not based on any objective reason.
  • It involves different types of exclusion or segregation, for example, the separation of groups due to their skin color or religious beliefs.
  • There are forms of positive discrimination, generally from an institutional or policy perspective, offered to populations that have been affected by some type of negative discrimination. An example is the reservation of access quotas to educational institutions or public positions for minorities or women.
  • It can be direct: a person is discriminated against for being one way, according to the perspective of the person who discriminates.
  • It can be indirect: when there is a treatment that may seem neutral to all people, but that ends up negatively affecting a person or group.
  • It can be expressed as bullying or harassment.

Types of discrimination

  • By age: access to jobs, study or other opportunities for personal and professional development is limited due to a person’s age.
  • Due to physical disability: a person is discriminated against because of their physical characteristics, limiting their professional possibilities or personal development.
  • Gender or sex: generally it is against women. For example, it occurs when there is wage inequality or the ability of women to carry out certain activities is questioned and limited.
  • Racial or ethnic origin: it is against an individual or group because of their racial or ethnic origin. Racial segregation, limited access to jobs and offensive and violent treatment by the authorities are examples of this type of discrimination.
  • Xenophobia: when a person is discriminated against or rejected for being a foreigner.
  • Religious : is presented against someone because of their religious beliefs. Access to services is denied, freedom of expression is limited, offense or violence is used against anyone with a different creed.

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