In spite of the steps taken to reduce prejudice and discrimination from the society, they are still prevalent throughout the world. It may cause much pain and suffering to an individual or entire group, which results in the limiting opportunities for the people belonging to that group and even violence.
Due to a number of similarities between these two, people often misinterpret prejudice for discrimination, but they’re two very different concepts. In the purest sense, prejudice is a preconceived opinion, without any information or reason, whereas discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of the different category of people, on various grounds like age, race or gender. So, take a glance at this article to brush up your knowledge regarding the difference between prejudice and discrimination.
Content: Prejudice Vs Discrimination
|Basis for Comparison||Prejudice||Discrimination|
|Meaning||Prejudice is a unjustified and baseless attitude towards an individual only because of his membership of a social group.||Discrimination refers to unjust or negative treatment of a person or a group from other people because he/she belongs to a particular class, group or category.|
|What is it?||Abstract misapprehension, only in the mind.||Expression of prejudice.|
|Nature||Non-conscious||Conscious and Non-conscious|
|Involves||Negative attitude towards an individual or group.||Unfair behavior towards an individual or group.|
|Component||Cognitive and Affective||Behavioral|
|Legal action||Cannot be taken against it.||Can be taken against it.|
Definition of Prejudice
The term prejudice means prejudgement, i.e. an irrational opinion, thought or feeling formed about a person or a group beforehand and that too without enough knowledge, fact or reason. It implies to preconception, typically unfavorable attitude or judgment held by the members of one group towards another based on inadequate and inaccurate information about the group.
Prejudice can be positive or negative. However, the term is mainly used for negative prejudgements wherein the members belonging to a particular group are believed as inferior based on race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, class, religion rather than personal experience.
Definition of Discrimination
As the name suggests, discrimination means to single out or to make a distinction between an individual and the other, for or against on the basis various factors such as group, category, status in spite of their own merit. It is the unequal treatment towards a person due to his membership in a group or possession of some different trait. It is an unfair behavior directed against someone which shows the attitude of prejudice.
In other words, discrimination is when we treat the members of a particular group differently especially in a poor manner due to their group affiliation. Most commonly people are discriminated on the grounds of age, sex, height, weight, skin color, disease, disability, marital status, education, speech, clothing, socio-economic status, and so forth.
Key Differences Between Prejudice and Discrimination
The following points are significant, so far as the difference between prejudice and discrimination is concerned:
- Prejudice is an unjustified and baseless attitude towards an individual only because of his membership in a social group. The unjust or negative treatment of a person or a group from other people because he/she belongs to a particular class, group or category is called discrimination.
- While prejudice is a negative attitude towards an individual or a particular group. As opposed to discrimination, unfair behavior towards an individual or group.
- Prejudice is the abstract misapprehension, only in the mind. Conversely, when the prejudice are put into action, it is called discrimination.
- Prejudice is a belief which involves the formation of opinion and interpretation about someone or something in advance. On the other hand, discrimination encompasses translation of these opinions and interpretation and putting them into actions.
- Prejudice is a result of lack of knowledge, information, ignorance and stereotyping. As against this, prejudice leads to discrimination.
- Prejudice is always non-conscious and automatic whereas discrimination can be conscious and non-conscious.
- The cognitive and affective components of attitude are applied to prejudice. On the contrary, the behavior towards other people, i.e. the behavioral component is applicable to discrimination.
- One can take legal actions against discrimination but not against prejudice.
In a nutshell, prejudice means holding an opinion about someone or something without knowing the facts or evidence. It is a person’s inner thoughts and feelings which do not always result in action. Unlike discrimination, which means unequal treatment or treating people differently on the basis of individual’s feelings and preferences, which is very apparent. These are anti-social behavior, present in almost all the countries, that may cause stress and tension among various group and may also result in harm to the group to whom it is directed.