Our book talks about prejudice and discrimination. Our book mentions how often we confuse these two terms. I like the way the book mentions the basic difference between the two terms is: Prejudice is the attitude, while discrimination is the behavior. It is a simple way to distinguish the two words to remember they are different so you do not confuse them. Prejudice refers to a set of negative attitudes, beliefs, and judgments about a whole group of people or about an individual member because of their perceived race or ethnicity. People often relate prejudice to racism, although racism is the belief that one certain ethnic group is inferior to one’s own.
Prejudice is shown in the video “Doll Study”. Children were given a sheet with five dolls on it with each doll ranging from light colored skin to the darkest color. The children were asked questions such as, “who has the skin color most adults don’t/do like”, “who is the ugly/pretty child”, “who is the nice/mean child? The tests showed that white children, as a whole, responded with a high rate of what researchers call white bias, identifying the color of their own skin with positive attributes and darker skin with negative attributes.
Discrimination is also defined as the denial of rights, privileges, and opportunities to members of a certain group. As I mentioned before discrimination could also be remembered as behavior, it is an act of something being done. It is harassment, inappropriate jokes, insults or even name calling. This kind of stuff gets done because of someone’s race, color, sex or gender, and even sexual orientation. Some examples of discrimination were shown in the video “A lesson in Discrimination”. A school teacher divided her class into two groups, a short group and a tall group. Although height does not seem like something that could be discriminated upon, it was an alternate choice because it is something children cannot choose to be. Just like you could not choose your skin color or sex, we have no power over it. The shorter people in the class were given “privileges” because short people were said to be better than tall. They got to go out to lunch five minutes earlier, go to recess earlier, go riding carpets outside. Right away a lot of the taller students questioned this saying, just because they are tall does not mean the shorter people were smarter, more creative, or better than them. After the teacher said the short kids could only work with the short and the tall with the tall.
One child in the short side made a comment saying, he would hope he can’t work with the tall kids, because they would mess up their work… Because he thought the tall kids were less creative than the short kids. Right away the kids started to feel rejected by each other, this is how discrimination is often leaving us feeling. The discrimination made these children question whether they were good enough, wishing they were different from who they already are, wishing they could change things about themselves that cannot be changed.
It is possible to discriminate without being prejudice, these people are called “fair-weather liberals”. They believe in equal treatment, but will still discriminate. An example of this would be if a homeowners were to be selling their house and they refused to it to a family of minority in fear of offending their neighbors. There is also individual discrimination and institutional discrimination. The difference between these two versions of discrimination is individual discrimination is mostly the bad and negative treatment from one person to another because of specific characteristics that person may have. Institutional discrimination is the negative treatment of a minority that is built into society already.
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