Sociology Prejudice

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Prejudice means prejudgement. It is a psychologically and sociologically unjustifiable, usually negative attitude towards a group and its members, and is based off of the physical characteristics of an individual rather than what a person actually believes or does. These prejudices turn into discrimination when the beliefs against a certain group are acted upon. Types of prejudice found in modern society include those related to sex, gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, class, religion, disability and language (McLeod, 2008). Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior(Oxford Dictionary, 2016).

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This often results in victims of crime or abuse to be blamed for being a victim because in a "just world" such atrocities would not be committed without provocation (Andre, Velasquez, 2015). This is often done so that a correlation exists in people's minds between someone's fate and their character. This also results in people feeling more secure with their own life because they perceive themselves as good people and consequently they will have a life free from undeserved or unnecessary suffering (Andre, Velasquez, 2015). In a school context this could result in ethnic or racial minorities, especially new migrants or refugees, being blamed for worse results or a lack of resources and materials when in reality these things are not a product of race or ethnicity but rather poverty, a lack of time and other racial discrimination which only further entrenches disadvantage. Other results of the just world phenomenon could be the blaming of victims of bullying as they must have done something to provoke the bullying even though this is likely not the…show more content…
Groups (e.g. social class, family, football team etc.) which people belonged to were an important source of pride and self-esteem (Tajfel, 1979). This links to social categorisation which is when people assign others to in-groups and out-groups. Social identity theory states that the in-group will hold prejudiced views, and discriminate, against the out-group (McLeod, 2008). The in-group does this to enhance their own self image by denigrating the perception of the out-groups (Tajfel, 1979). In a school context social categorisation's negative effects can result in bullying and discrimination against those who are not part of the in-group, e.g. members of the LGBTIQ community, racial and ethnic minorities, or the self-segregation of students in an attempt to separate the in and out-groups, which will often result in racial self-segregation as within Australian schools non-white students are the out-group. Another form of social categorisation include stereotypes. A stereotype is a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people (Cardwell, 1996). Stereotypes are a way in which we simplify our social world (McLeod, 2015). By stereotyping we infer that a person has a range of characteristics that we assume all members of a group possess. Racial stereotypes always seem to favour the race of the holder and belittle other races (McLeod, 2015).
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