Prejudice, Discrimination, Bigotry and Racism

prejudice

What’s the difference?


 
Prejudice is prejudgment or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. Discrimination is action that denies social participation or human rights to categories of people based on prejudice. Bigotry is a state of mind where a person views other groups with fear, distrust, prejudice or hatred solely on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other group characteristics. Racism consists of both prejudice and discrimination based in social perceptions of biological differences between people.
 
It’s important we understand what we are and aren’t in order to give these issues the proper context they deserve. If we aren’t honest with what we are, how can we begin to go where we need to? I will begin.
 

Prejudice

One can be prejudiced against, or have a preconceived notion about someone due to any characteristic they find to be unusual or undesirable including those based on someone’s race, gender, nationality, social status, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. Outside of racism, forms of prejudice include sexism (belief that females are worth less or less capable than males), homophobia (antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), and religious discrimination (valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe).
 
I was homophobic as a young man. I used slurs that would be offensive to the LGBT community. I wouldn’t say I avoided gay people, but I certainly didn’t seek them out. While I am no longer homophobic, I feel like I engage in religious discrimination. I am very skeptical of people who proselytize when it comes to their faith. I feel they are the people with the most to hide.
 

Discrimination

An individual need not be actually harmed in order to be discriminated against. He or she just needs to be treated worse than others for some arbitrary reason. Outside of racism, forms of discrimination include age (a set of beliefs, norms, and values which used to justify subordination based on someone’s age), language (prejudicial treatment against a person or a group of people who speak a particular language or dialect), and employment (denying someone employment, or disallowing one from applying for a job when the grounds for such an exclusion are not related to the requirements of the position, and protected characteristics may include age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, height, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, skin color, and weight.
 
I have never discriminated against anyone in my life. Discrimination is about the power of denial. This is why not everyone has really dabbled in …….
 

Racism

Racism often takes the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems that consider different races to be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities. It may also hold that members of different races should be treated differently.
 
Classical forms of racism include racial discrimination which is the separation of people through a process of social division into categories not necessarily related to races for purposes of differential treatment. Also, institutional racism is racial discrimination by governments, corporations, religions, or educational institutions or other large organizations with the power to influence the lives of many individuals. These are quantifiable knowns and easily identifiable.
 
Post civil-rights forms of racism include historical, economic or social disparity caused by past racism affecting the present generation through deficits in the formal education and kinds of preparation of previous generations, and through primarily unconscious racist attitudes and actions on members of the general population. “Modern racism” is characterized by outwardly acting unprejudiced while inwardly maintaining prejudiced attitudes, and displaying subtle prejudice behaviors such as actions informed by attributing qualities to others based on racial stereotypes, and evaluating the same behavior differently based on the race of the person being evaluated.
 
I think everyone recognizes and rejects the classical forms of racism for the most part. The forms racism has taken post civil rights are where we are now. People either do not want to acknowledge or want to minimize the fact that past racism affects the current condition of races in society. Furthermore, while people may not be outwardly racist, they tend to justify prejudice and discrimination of whole races off of the actions of a few.
 
I have never discriminated nor have advocated for different treatment of people based on race. I recognize and acknowledge the disparity created by the past, I do not display subtle prejudice behaviors based on racial stereotypes, and I evaluate the same behavior by different races the same way. To the dismay of many people, I can say that I do not fit the technical definition of a racist.
 

Bigotry

Like prejudice, everyone practices bigotry. Example: I am bigoted against pedophiles. I am also bigoted against domestic batterers.
 

Example

“I don’t want to walk near those blacks because they are violent”
 
This is prejudice because an opinion has been formed without relevant facts pertaining to those particular facts. This is bigotry as it is fear of a group based solely on a feature (race) of that group. This is not discrimination as there is no denial of human rights or social participation. Without the discriminatory element, I would say it’s not racist, but one could look at it as racist if they could prove they would walk near whites they thought were violent for that would be different treatment for the same action due to race. Replace “walk near” with employ, sell to, give equal protection etc. and you have clear cut racism.
 

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