Social Sciences

Start Your Free Trial

How do sociological perspectives explain the causes of prejudice and discrimination?

Expert Answers info

Michael Koren eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write2,982 answers

starTop subjects are History, Law and Politics, and Social Sciences

There is a difference between prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice is an attitude. Discrimination is an action. People who discriminate cause harm to those who are experiencing the discrimination. People who are prejudiced hold negative attitudes about a group of people, but unless they act upon their attitudes, their attitudes alone won’t harm a group of people.

There are various sociological factors for why prejudice and discrimination occur. One factor is that these ideas are taught either directly or indirectly. A person who hears a respected person in his or her life say negative things about a group may believe these things to be true. As a result, a person generalizes these beliefs to all people of the group. A person who sees discriminatory actions may think it is acceptable to act this way toward others.

Another factor involved is the fear of not conforming to the norms of a group to which a person belongs. If a person takes a different view regarding a group than his or...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 822 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

yscorse eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write135 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial