Explain the difference among racism, prejudice, and discrimination.
All three words are often used interchangeably. Misuse and overuse obscure issues and make them difficult to address.
Racism is when people treat another person or group as inferior due to their race.
Prejudice is when a person forms a particular opinion about another person or group of people based on his/her own assumptions and conclusions without facts [e.g.: Women are inferior to men]
while discrimination is making a distinction between two people or things which can be favourable or unfavourable [Writers should excercise discrimination when anwering questions on this site.: meaning they should choose carefully according to meaning or good taste].
Racism is easy to discern, the other two can easily be confused because they're very close.
The one thing all three have in common is the individual does not treat everyone equally. Racism means the reason you treat someone rudely or nicely is based upon the color of their skin.
Prejudice can either be "narrow-mindedness" or having a bias towards an individual or group because they don't look like, think like, or behave like you. One example might be with religon. Two men might have (white skin) but one is Jewish and the other is not which causes one to resent the other or not trust them. Contrary to what many believe it is not against the law to be racist or prejudice. Those are moral issues unless that individual breaks a law.
Discrimination is an (act) that can be legal or illegal depending on how it is used. The government or laws of the land determine what is legal and illegal discrimination. If I refuse to sell you a home because of your race that is illegal. However if I refuse to sell you a bottle of wine because you are under the age of 21 that is legal. A housing developer can build a housing community for only those age 55 and older and that is legal. If I own a restaurant I can legally post a sign which says, (no shoes, no shirt, no service). On the other hand if you are an employee who I refuse to promote on the grounds that you are a woman, black/asian/latino, or gay/lesbian that is illegal discrinination. Most legal discrimination has to do with age or credit scores/income requirments to purchase particular items or gain privilages/rights such as a driving license or voting.
Racism is a narrower definition, I would say, with prejudicial ideas towards race specifically. Prejudice refers to having a strong dislike for something, for sometimes no apparent reason. DIscrimination is a broad term that refers to depriving others of opportunities for reasons, not just of race, but gender and age as well.
As I see it, the difference is an order of magnitude. If we compare it to events in medicine, the racism would be identical to a cancer. It destroys everything, regardless of whether it was healthy tissue or not. It spreads and seeds itself into all parts of the body, consuming everything in its path. It is violent, lethal, and the only way to survive its lethality is to excise it or destroy it completely through any radical means available. Prejudice is more like an infection. It can be treated, cured, through proper treatement. It is directed more at an individual, affecting them sometimes severely, but in most cases, survival is not an issue. Discrimination is like a wound. It's inflicted, sometimes without forethought or even consideration intent. It is a bias that has filtered down through time but as soon as it is encountered it is opposed and usually overruled. In many ways, like a sore that you apply an antiseptic and it disappears. So if we think of these conditions of human behaviour in the same manner that we think about illness, then we can perceive the differences and recognize that an illness like racism is too dangerous to leave unattended. It must be eradicated quickly and completely so that the body, in this case humanity, can survive.
Prejudice, forming an opinion in advance of facts, includes racism. Both may result from experience: if I have been cheated by people from XXX I will justifiably be cautious with their fellow countrymen. Discrimination means choosing: good or bad.
Wow Kahana! Very thoughtful explanation.
There really isn't anything different to explain about these selection of words, all three relates to hate.
That does make a lot of sense, they do all relate to hate.
I'd hazard a guess you're prejudiced against people who haven't bathed in two weeks, and that you discriminate against them by staying as far away as you can. I sure do. Does that mean you hate them?
Thank you Michele Travis, as for the question Attikos have chosen to ask, However your using prejudice, discrimination, and racism doesn't fit into the category of likes and dislikes. So, therefore there's not enough grounds to even consider a debate
This isn't a debate. It's more a matter of clarification of commonly misunderstood terms. Or, rather, it's an attempt to clarify them, not necessarily a successful one.
Racism is the belief that a particular race is congenitally either superior or inferior to another.
Prejudice is an ingrained bias in outlook either favoring or disfavoring something, be that a clothing style, a weather pattern, skin color, or anything else.
Discrimination is behavior expressing prejudice.
This is an exceptionally good question. You are exactly right, diannetrotter. Confusion of these terms causes bad communication, frequent misunderstanding, and sloppy reasoning.
Thank you Attikos! I'm in the midst of writing a hub and got definitions from Psychology Today. You must be in Human Resources. Understanding those differences can facilitate a good discussion if we let it.
May I quote you and give credit on my hu
Of course you may, dianetrotter. I'm just a lowly freelance writer, by the way, not an HR demigod holding the lives of others in his hands.
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