Main traits that define prejudices
A prejudice is a perception or opinion towards a certain group, and something that is very important is that prejudice, in most cases, has a negative connotation .
On the other hand, prejudice is something you learn . In this way, the creation of a prejudice in the mind of a person, depends directly on a number of experiences that the person has lived, particularly throughout his childhood.
Furthermore, a prejudice is based on an erroneous view of reality . Usually a prejudice takes a very small part of reality and exaggerates it, distorts it, or makes unreliable generalizations.
An extremely important characteristic of prejudices is that it is very difficult to eliminate them , this because they are deeply ingrained in people’s minds.
Finally, it is important to say that building a prejudice and maintaining it can cause many negative consequences , starting with the generation of discriminatory attitudes and behaviors towards people with whom there is a prejudice.
What is a prejudice?
A prejudice is exactly that, to make a previous judgment of a person; without giving us time to have real data about it. But it is that, even without that data, we include it directly in a group; and we do this using what we call stereotypes.
In turn, stereotypes are the beliefs, feelings or ideas that we have towards people or situations that belong to a specific group. For example, we may have certain ideas about lawyers, bricklayers, Roma people, etc.
Types of prejudices and examples
The following are some examples of the most common biases:
Appearance prejudice is one that criticizes or rejects the physical appearance of a person because they think or have the belief that it breaks the socially established norms. These types of assessments are common in conservative individuals and communities.
- Many people assume that people of color and tall individuals are good at basketball.
- To think that all the people who get tattoos are criminals and drug addicts.
Gender bias have an opinion on the capabilities of the female or male gender. Prejudices of this kind keep the possibility of equality away.
- Believing that men should always be strong, because crying or showing sensitivity makes them weak.
- Believe that women are more sentimental than men.
This type of prejudice is aimed at having ideas or opinions about a person or community according to their physical characteristics or skin color. From there, beliefs about their psychological, cultural and emotional traits emerge.
To think that Europeans are more intellectual than people of other races.
Origin prejudice is one in which a group of people is rejected, criticized or left out because of the fact that they were born in a certain country or because they belong to a specific region. In general, this type of opinion considers that there are better or superior nationalities than others.
- A prejudice towards Italians is that they are gangsters.
- Thinking that all Muslims or people born in Arab countries are terrorists and violent.
This variety of prejudice is based on the ideas or opinions held about the sexual condition of an individual or group of people, as well as their behavior and performance within society. Sexual prejudice focuses on comparing the behaviors, decisions and capacities of homosexuals with heterosexuals.
Thinking or thinking that homosexuals are people with psychological illness and that their condition is a disease.
A class prejudice is one in which an individual or group is conditioned by belonging to a certain social stratum. Thoughts and opinions focus on people’s moral and ethical attitudes. At the same time in the belief that they are better or worse for their level within society.
To think that all the rich have obtained their fortune through illicit acts or corruption.
This type of prejudice bases their opinions and beliefs about a person or group according to their political inclination.
- Having the idea that all adherents of communism expect the government to provide them with all the social, recreational and economic benefits to live, since they do not like to work.
- All capitalists are greedy and exploitative.
This type of prejudice creates opinions around the age of individuals. It usually focuses on thinking that a person’s chronological time limits or enables them to carry out a certain activity or make a decision. All this without taking into account that psychological and emotional development and experiences must be considered.
- To think that children always tell the truth and that because of their innocence you have to believe them all the time.
- Older people must be controlled by someone.
- All teenagers are irresponsible.
This variety of prejudice is related to negative views about the cultural form of an individual or community. More specifically, it has to do with the criticisms and ideas that are created around the gastronomic, musical, artistic or historical traditions of a certain group.
Thinking that gypsies are lazy and don’t like to work.
This prejudice is associated with the professional activities that an individual performs. In general, it is linked to a specific union and to certain moral, ethical or sexual actions, which in turn generates certain conditions.
Believe that secretaries or personal assistants always have a loving relationship with their bosses.
A prejudice of this type is the one that is formed from the religious, spiritual or mystical beliefs that a person, community or society in general has. They almost always focus on how individuals act.
- To think that atheists are insensitive people and that they tend to act in a bad way.
- All Christians who attend Mass are trustworthy and good.
They are based on the opinions that arise from the educational formation of a person or society. Educational bias can occur towards an individual who received a good education and also towards another who has not been academically prepared.
- Believing that students who get good grades don’t have a social life.
- To think that those who do not have a school degree are illiterate.
In simple terms, this prejudice has to do with the type of language and the form of expression that a specific individual or community uses to communicate. It is associated with the tone, the words or the rhythm used in speech.
- To think that indigenous languages have no reason for being because very few people speak and understand them.
- Believing that people who use modern language are uneducated.
Prejudice with animals
This variety of prejudice is related to the opinions held about animals and their attitudes. In addition, they encompass the preferences that some individuals have about particular species and the way in which they are associated with them.
- Believe that those who have horses are rich.
- Thinking that homosexuals only prefer the company of cats.
The aesthetic prejudice is related to the stereotypes or physical demands of beauty that a society imposes. In most cases they arise from advertising influence and the patterns it establishes.
Thinking that people with excess body weight have less possibility and abilities to have a good job.
This prejudice is associated with the negative opinions and ideas that are formed in relation to a physical or mental health condition that an individual or group has. People often judge the abilities and behaviors of those who suffer from them.
Believe that people with Down syndrome do not have the ability to exercise or carry out a work activity.
Gastronomic prejudice is one that criticizes or bases its opinions on the food consumed by some individuals in certain cultures. They originate from the rarity of the dishes they prepare because they are far from the traditional.
To think that some indigenous and Asian cultures are insane for consuming worms or other species of insects or exotic animals.
This prejudice is associated with the criticisms that are made and the opinions that are formed around the patterns imposed by a fashion or way of dressing. Many times it leans towards a particular genre or designer.
Believing that men who dress in fashion are effeminate or homosexual.
A technological bias is related to the opinions of ideas that are held about technology and its advances. Mostly, they are oriented to the programs that are designed and how they influence children and young people.
Believe that the experience of reading a book in physical form is better than in digital format.
This prejudice is based on literary productions and authors. The opinions and ideas that arise originate from a comment, the cover of the book, the title of the work or the genre to which it belongs, but not from the experience of having read or knowing all the content.
Thinking that all science fiction or horror books have low-quality content.
Prejudice and discrimination
Prejudice and discrimination are two concepts that are closely linked and that could become confused. The main difference between prejudice and discrimination is that the former only involves perceptions and opinions, and when we talk about discrimination, it is because these opinions and perceptions have already been consummated in an attitude or behavior, that is, they resulted in a concrete action.
Prejudice and the mass media
The mass media , such as television, radio, movies, and the Internet, constantly portray stereotypes that could help foster prejudice. For example, it is very common to see in a movie that the villain is a man of black or Middle Eastern origin, while the hero is Anglo-Saxon, or it is common to observe the woman always taking care of the house and the children. children, while the man develops other types of paid activities.
Thus, in the media there are stereotypes of race, gender and age (since there is a constant mockery of the elderly). On the other hand, it is very common for jokes to be made at the expense of homosexual people, thus promoting prejudice for sexual orientation.
How to eliminate or reduce prejudices?
As already mentioned, prejudices are beliefs that are deeply ingrained in a person or even in an entire society. Currently there are many efforts to eliminate prejudice and, along with it, discrimination in general. Many countries have even developed programs to achieve this.
One of the ways that is used to reduce prejudice is by seeking that people develop empathy, that is, the ability to put themselves in the place of the other. These types of exercises can be worked with both adults and children, although they are always more effective if they are done during childhood. On the other hand, you can promote coexistence and participation with groups other than your own, both with regard to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
The mass media can also be a way of reducing or eliminating prejudices, provided that they direct their messages towards tolerance and openness and not towards discrimination. Through the repetition of opening messages in movies, soap operas and television series, a change in societies could be achieved.
Check your prejudices
As stereotypes and prejudices did not form last week; but they are passed from generation to generation, at this point they are part of our deepest way of thinking.
As you can see, prejudices and stereotypes can have some other advantage. But, in general, what they bring us are disadvantages. So, check yours, don’t make generalizations. Well … maybe you should do it in that dark and lonely alley; but don’t do it with people.
Prejudice today in our society
We are all different, we all have strengths and weaknesses, we all have something to contribute. It is simply not possible that all the people of a country are the same; nor that all those who have a specific profession are. It is not even possible for all of the same gender to be the same. Therefore, the best thing would be to know a person, to know him personally, whoever he is; before making a judgment about her and … it may surprise you.
More Examples of prejudice
- Rocío thinks that all people in the Middle East are terrorists and therefore we must be afraid of them.
- Octavio believes that women are not capable of taking on high positions, since they are not as intelligent as men.
- Martín considers Jews to be greedy and ill-intentioned people.
- Carmen, an engineering student, believes that undergraduate students are not smart.
- Mariana believes that her partner Lucía is ugly since she is overweight.
- Juan believes that his partner Joaquín is a pervert since he is homosexual.
- Claudia believes that traveling to a Middle Eastern country is extremely dangerous, since everyone is terrorist and violent there.
- Liliana meets a man of African American origin on the street and decides to go the other way, since she thinks he may attack her.
- Ramiro believes that his wife has an obligation to care for him and take care of his children since she is a woman.
- María believes that her grandmother is not a capable person, since she is very old and therefore can no longer do anything.
As the name suggests, prejudices are a preliminary judgment, usually negative; a judgment that we make of a person or a group, before having the complete information first hand. Prejudices in our society have long been established. So much so that, as Albert Einstein said, “it is easier to disintegrate an atom than a prejudice”.
Prejudices in today’s society are still present, permanently. Even today, despite living in a society that is supposedly so modern and so open-minded; People continue to be discriminated against because of their race, sex, social class, religion, and because of their sexual orientation. And even for having a disability.
For there to be prejudice and the consequent discrimination, it is necessary to see a person as part of a group; for which you feel rejection or at least some dislike. Prejudices have occurred since the beginning of time and continue today.
Discrimination is directly related to prejudice, and we are going to talk about them. We are going to talk about what prejudices are and how prejudices are formed. By understanding the mental process that leads to the formation of a prejudice, we can change it more easily; if we want it. Either with respect to a person or a group.