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PSY 301 The Impact of Prejudice, Stereotype, and Discrimination




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The Impact of Prejudice, Stereotype, and Discrimination
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PSY 301
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Racial prejudices have changed over the past several years; interracial dating and
marriage are considered morally wrong to some groups. The pressure put on interracial couples
by society can be difficult and if a child is involved the racism can be escalated. The current war
the United States is fighting has caused those of Middle Eastern decent to be viewed differently.
People tend to gravitate toward individuals who look, act, and think like them because they are
within a comfort zone. Prejudice, racism, and discrimination prevent people from getting to
know other races, cultures, and people.
The American Academy of Pediatrics describes prejudice as “prejudgment or irrational
generalization about an entire category of people” (2007). Prejudice is a problem in today’s
society, people are judged every day by what they wear, drive, career choice, education, race, and
religion. Some believe that there are times when prejudice can be positive that is not a fair
statement because prejudice tears people apart with unfair or untrue statements or actions.
By the time a child reaches age four, he or she are aware of the differences in people and
have formed some type of prejudice. Children judge each other and those he or she are around on
race, appearance, and gender (Pediatrics, 2007). As he or she grows these prejudices are heighted
by what, he or she is taught from a parent or a family structure. The teachings can be in
deliberate coaching or innocent actions or remarks like an off color joke. Children are more
aware of prejudice then we give them credit for because of his or her age feelings, opinions, and
beliefs are not taken into consideration as real. By the time these children are young adults, he or
she will also show prejudice toward religion, culture, value, and social class (Pediatrics, 2007).
Society also contributes to prejudice even if the family unit is not because of video games,
television, and everyday life interactions.
The other aspect of prejudice is discrimination. Discrimination is how a group or
categories of people are considered; unfair treatment or actions that are biased (Pediatrics, 2007).
The Conflict research Consortium maintains that “Prejudice and discrimination are negative
manifestations of integrative power” (Prejudice & Discrimination, 1998). Discrimination breaks
down groups and pushes people apart. There are many forms of discrimination: harassment that

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can be from a joke, name calling, or something directed to a specific color, race, gender or sexual
orientation; wage discrimination like a woman receiving lesser pay than man even if they do the
same job; hiring discrimination for being a parent of a small child or having health issues; sexual
discrimination can happen if a pregnant woman is fired or an employee becomes disabled;
housing discrimination happens when no children are allowed in a complex or a landlord
requires a specific age demographic (NAJC, 2013). There were more than 99,000 discrimination
charges filed nationally in 2011. Another staggering statistic that makes that number worse is that
workplace discrimination cases have remained unchanged since 2009 in Texas, Florida, or
California (Simpson, 2012).
Stereotyping is another form of discrimination because it is a “fixed or over generalized
belief about a particular group or class of people” (Cardwell, 1996). Even though there appear to
be advantages of stereotyping like the ability to respond quickly to a similar situation there are
many more disadvantages. Stereotyping does not allow us to view the differences in people, so
society thinks a specific way about a group or person that may not be true. It is very difficult to
not stereotype mainly because it twists the information that fits a way of thinking.
Prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination can lead to fear, anxiety, social tension,
hostility, and even violence. They can ruin a person’s confidence and self-esteem leaving them
vulnerable to bullying, especially in children and young adults. Prejudice, stereotyping, and
discrimination have been happening for many years. At a time in history African Americans were
deemed useless except for as a slave, they were segregated in schools, on public transportation
and in restaurants. When Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his equality speech saying that Blacks and
Whites should be treated equally it started the nation thinking. Even though King’s speech was
moving and became a turning point for many there is still much work to be done.
Children are exposed to a variety of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination through
media outlets. They are learning about cultures, races, and religions while forming opinions of
people around the world. It is imperative that children learn diversity, why everyone is not the
same and how people need to work together to change the world (Prejudice and Discrimination
In Public Schools, 2001).

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Excellent resource! Really helped me get the gist of things.