Difference Between Prejudice and Discrimination


DifferenceBetween Prejudice and Discrimination

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DifferenceBetween Prejudice and Discrimination

Accordingto Schneider (2005), defining prejudice and discrimination is hardand he likens it to defining pornography. All the same, people insociety know prejudice and discrimination when they see it, or atleast most of them think they do. The word prejudice has its originfrom the Latin word praejudicium, which when translated into Englishmeans a presumption of preliminary hearing. The Latin wordpraejudicium has a close relationship with another Latin wordpraejudico, which means to prejudge in English (Schnenider). Most ofthe Latin meaning has been preserved in modern English we use today.Therefore, prejudice refers to the attitude (mostly negative)maintained by an individual against members of another group. Theword is commonly associated with negativity, although it may be usedto connote positivity in which case the user of the word must specifycorrectly (Schneider). Example of prejudice includes racism,nationalism, classicism, sexism and ageism (Cherry, n.d).

Theterm discrimination also has its origin in the Latin language. InLatin, the word is called discrimino, which means to divide orseparate in English translation. The term has diverse meaningsdepending on different situations. However, in one of the meanings,it refers to negative behavior or actions accorded to individuals orgroups or people by an individual or a group of people on the basisof categories such as social class, race, sex, and age among others.

Examplesof discriminatory actions include Blacks in the US being barred fromjoining Marine Corps, Apartheid law in South Africa that placednon-whites in separate communities and denied them voting rights, andwomen being paid less than men in the same job category (Mcleod,2008).

DifferenceBetween Prejudice and Discrimination

Accordingto Tischler (year), prejudice is a subjective feeling, whilediscrimination is an overt action. Here, Tischler differentiates thetwo as very different, with prejudice being just a feeling, whilediscrimination is an action. At this juncture, it is better tounderstand that prejudice comprises of all the three components of anattitude that is, affective, behavioral, and cognitive, whilediscrimination only comprises of the behavioral component. Affectivecomponent is concerned with feelings or emotions one has towards theattitude object. Behavioral component is concerned with how ouractions are influenced by the attitude we maintain. Lastly, cognitivecomponent is concerned with beliefs/knowledge held towards theattitude object (Mcleod, 2008).

Therefore,it is possible to prejudice without having to discriminate against acertain individual or group of individuals. Attitudes and overtbehavior have a close relationship, but they are very different andindependent of each other.

Tischlerplaces people into four groups according to how they relate toprejudice and discrimination. The groups are unprejudicednon-discriminators, unprejudiced discriminators, prejudicednon-discriminators, and prejudiced discriminators. Unprejudicednon-discriminators are individuals who never discriminate against orprejudice members of other groups. They believe that all people areequal and deserve to be treated with dignity. Unprejudiceddiscriminators are those individuals always thinking aboutexpediency. Although free of racial prejudice, they condonediscriminatory practices, fearing that failure to do that would hurttheir position in society. Prejudiced non-discriminators are timidindividuals who accept that equality is important, but they complainwhen pressure is applied. Prejudiced discriminators are on theextreme. They believe in inequality among people and express theirprejudiced attitudes through actions. To make it worse, they believethat it is a duty they have to fulfill to their group (Tischler).

TheThree Propositions of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Thethree propositions of culturally relevant pedagogy are academicsuccess, cultural competence, and critical consciousness. Studentsmust overcome social inequities they have to endure every day toachieve academic excellence. The skills may be developed differently,but students need literacy, numeracy, political, social, andtechnological skills for them to be active participants in democracy.Culturally relevant teaching aims at getting students to choose theiracademic excellence. Cultural diversity, which is normally the basisfor prejudice and discrimination should be used to achieve academicexcellence. For instance, strong social skills demonstrated byAfrican American students can be used to challenge them to translatethe same into academic performance.

Culturalcompetence needs to be balanced with academic excellence. The cultureof a certain group would be the strength to be used in achievingexcellence in academics. In American schools, African Americanstudents are described as “playing white”, implying that schoolis traditionally not meant to be their thing. To use such adiscriminatory situation, which is based on cultural competence toachieve academic excellence would maybe be to challenge the AfricanAmerican students to use their culture to excel in class. One teacherused the love for rap music by African-American students to teach thestudents poetry as it is applied in the music. In such a case, as thestudents enjoy their culture, they excel in their academic endeavorsand avert discrimination leveled against them.

Interms of critical consciousness, students need to remain consciousand be able to correct the society and institutions that produce themyet continue to discriminate and prejudice them (Ladson, 1995).


Prejudiceand discrimination are aspects of life that are deeply rooted withinindividuals, but can be removed through culturally relevant teaching.The groups that are discriminated against in our societies need to beempowered so erase the lines along which they are discriminated ifpossible.


Cherry,K. (n.d). WhatIs Prejudice? What It Is, How It Forms, &amp How to PreventIt.Retrieved7/12/14 from http://psychology.about.com/od/pindex/g/prejudice.htmLadson‐Billings,G. (1995). But that`s just good teaching! The case for culturallyrelevant pedagogy. Theoryinto practice,34(3),159-165.McLeod,S. A. (2008). Prejudice and Discrimination. Retrieved fromhttp://www.simplypsychology.org/prejudice.htmlSchneider,D. J. (2005). Thepsychology of stereotyping.Guilford Press.Tischler,H. (2013). CengageAdvantage Books: Introduction to Sociology.Cengage Learning.