We’ve all been unfairly judged at some point in our lives and we’ve also done our fair share.
Prejudice is an unjustified, typically negative attitude toward an individual or group.
This can often be what we call unconscious bias. We all have bias and its okay to admit you do but what’s more important is what you do with it. So you walk into a new space and you’re immediately looking for something familiar. Who looks like me, who has similar interests, who you don’t want to align with because they may have a punk or a tattoo. You’re looking for commonality to identify with and to feel safe based on what you belief to be safe or perceive to be safe?
Here is where stereotype comes in.
- Racial stereotypes – black people can’t swim. We all know that’s not true.
- Gender stereotypes – girls can’t run, again we all know it’s not true or better still how many of you have heard or said “you act like a girl or run like a girl.”
Why do we think that all girls run a certain way?
Stereotype is an overgeneralised belief about a particular group of people and though there are positive stereotypes, they’re usually also negative like the examples I’ve given.
So when you combine your stereotypical beliefs with your prejudicial attitudes and emotions that accompany it like fear and hostility they then drive the behaviour we call discrimination. For example if you believe in the stereotype that overweight people are lazy, then your prejudice kicks in to say, you don’t like them because you don’t approve but when you act on that prejudice for example call them names like fattie or the Indian lad brings a curry and you think it smells and refuse to let either of them sit with you for lunch, then you’ve crossed the line into discrimination.
Remember, it is your action that matters.