Prejudice is an attitude concerning the way people think about others. It comes from the Latin 'pre-judicare', or to pre-judge people. It means to hold an opinion about someone without having any evidence to justify it. Very often, there is evidence that a person's prejudice is wrong, but they ignore it. We often find prejudice and discrimination go hand in hand.
People can become prejudiced for many reasons. Which include the influence of parents, because young children accept everything their parents say, including their prejudices. These prejudices are very often difficult to break down later in life. Prejudice often comes from ignorance. Someone can be prejudiced against, say, the Irish, because they know very little about them. Prejudice also comes from fear. Because someone is different in their language, behaviour, or customs, people are afraid of them. Prejudice also comes from pride, because people think that the groups they belong to are superior to others. Therefore, they will be prejudiced against these because they must be inferior.
Discrimination is the acting out of prejudices, when people are treated unfairly because of a prejudice held against them.
Racial discrimination has been illegal in Britain since the 1976 Race Relations Act was passed. Racial prejudice is not illegal, because it is impossible to legislate against an attitude or thoughts.
There are many groups in society who are discriminated against, among these are:
Discrimination against these groups manifests itself in many different ways:
This is obvious and deliberate prejudice where a person or persons from one of the above-mentioned groups are denied access or opportunities, where others out-with this group would not. For example:
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