what is the differenceDifferentiate between prejudice and discrimination.

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boblawrence | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Prejudice involves the attachment to a person or group negative attributes that are based on their membership of a certain class.  The negative quality is assumed (incorrectly) to be present in all members of the group or class.  Thus, prejudice represents an error in intellect, usually learned from other prejudiced persons who are family members, friends or associates.

Discrimination is the unfair treatment of someone based upon such things as their religion, sex, nationality, ethnicity, age, etc. It might be based in prejudice, but could also be done for selfish or economic reasons.

Discrimintion is usually illegal whereas prejudice is not.

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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#2 has the basic definition exactly correct. To expand a little, Prejudice would be a personal feeling of superiority over any other person, for any reason; White Supremicists feel superior because of their skin color. Discrimination would be the implementation of that feeling in a unique way based on arbitrary standards; a White Supremicist might deny a job to a White Woman because she is unqualified, and deny the same job to a Black Man because of his skin color. People feel Prejudicial towards others based on arbitrary standards; people commit Discrimination towards others based on their Prejudicial attitudes.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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One of the best ways to reduce prejudice is by spending time overseas, if possible. Any cross cultural experience brings greater awareness that people are people all over the world. Moreover, through this cross cultural interaction, many fears are address. The upshot of all of this is often times greater understanding and even appreciation for people who are from different backgrounds. So, of course, education is important, but what is equally important is cross cultural experience in some form or another.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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If we accept the above definition that prejudice is a personal attitude (which I agree is an accurate definition), then reducing prejudice involves changing peoples' attitudes - always a challenging and time-consuming process.  Education can expose people to evidence to support other attitudes and provide examples of ways in which the ideas of prejudice being addressed may be changed. In the final analysis, however, personal experience that brings one to the conclusion that ideas and attitudes need to be revised is the only way to reduce prejudice.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Education one way to change people's perceptions of others. When teachers choose particular pieces of literature, teaching some specific sociology units, presenting specific historical topics can all help to make students realize that people are more alike than they are different and that all people share the same dreams and sense of fulfillment from life.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I have to agree that the above posts are correct in defining and naming the differences between prejudice and discrimination. I would tend to look at prejudice as the way one feels about another as prejudicial and the way one treats another (if wrongly) is based upon discrimination.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This is an area of frequent misunderstanding.  The above distinctions are great, and I would also like to add that while certain kinds of discrimination are unlawful, there is no way to legislate against prejudice.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I agree with the previous post here.  Prejudice is something that goes on in your own mind.  Discrimination happens in more visible ways.  A person can be prejudiced without actually discriminating against others.  You can think someone is inferior to you, but not actually treat them that way.

I would quibble a bit with the idea that discrimination is always based on prejudice.  It can be based on your perception of other people's prejudices.  In other words, I might thing that a black person is just as good as me but refuse to hire them because I think my customers wouldn't like it.

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Prejudice, strictly speaking, refers to attitudes toward another group, while discrimination refers to actions taken against that group. So assuming that, for example, members of another race are inferior to you is prejudice. Refusing to hire people of another race would be discrimination. Obviously, discrimination is based on prejudice.

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