Discrimination and Prejudice
Prejudice and discrimination form a core component of social psychology even
though the contemporary definition of these two terms may differ from the previous
descriptions. The prejudice and discrimination are different in all spheres but are
related and can be applied interchangeably. Discrimination is defined as behaviour
that equals to unfair treatment of a person because of their affiliation to a particular
group in terms of race, place of origin, ethnic or religious aspects, whereas prejudice
linked to biasness. In contrast, prejudice is a negative attitude towards a specific entity
of people (Lei & Bodenhausen, 2017). Discrimination over the years has been
discussed as a severe social affair that affects significant population negatively. The
dominant discussion on ending discrimination has been ongoing through the ages of
humankind. Historically, discrimination as a term was used in the context of racism,
and this was so common in America during the era of Martin Luther. Nevertheless,
discrimination and prejudice from the basis of stereotype, which is a general belief
about particular person or group of people. This paper seeks to address discrimination
and prejudice as a social issue of concern in the ecological niche of humankind in
context to social equilibrium.
Social psychologist in the race to understand the origin of discrimination and
prejudice has tried to explain it using specific theories. The theories cover the three
aspects if functionalism, symbolic interactionism and conflict theory Kite & Whitley
Jr, 2016). The functionalism theory attempts to explain and understand the societal
existence and cohesiveness in the wake of maintaining the social equilibrium. The
thesis argues that discrimination and prejudice perform a pivotal role in society by
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maintaining the status quo of society, even though the minority is suppressed by
bigotry and prejudice.
The conflict theory divides society into social classes and social groups of
existence that makes up a society. The power tussle between the social class in the
race to control power and resources result in discrimination and prejudice. The
symbolism interactionism theory talks about the confines of individual interaction
within society. Prejudice and discrimination are often communicated in a way which
individual interacts with each other and the exchange within social institutions. The
people may shape the behaviour and action of a person they are coming into contact
with, thus segregating themselves in social class and groups.
Then prejudice and discrimination in the contemporary structure and alienation
seeks to address the racial discrimination, and prejudice as an overview of what
society is experiencing in terms of racial segregation around the world. However,
discrimination can amplify and manifest itself in several forms, such as discrimination
in terms of gender and age. American has a rich history as manifested during the reign
of Marin Luther, an activist who advocated for equal treatment of African American
living in the US by then. However, the cases of racial discrimination are still present
in the modern world as report and revealed by several reports and research across the
The definition of the race goes beyond colour, as it can also mean nationality or
place of origin. Racial discrimination can occur in different forms depending on the
context; this may include indirect, direct, harassment and victimization. Direct racial
discrimination occurs when one is treated unequally compared to the one in a similar
DISCRIMINATION AND PREJUDICE 4
situation. The indirect in terms of organization or agencies treat a person differently
because of their race. Harassment is humiliation and victimization refer to being
poorly treated, all this because of a person race.
The people may be racist as a result of influence from the people around them
or where they have grown up from until they conform it as behaviour (Stangor, 2016).
The behaviour, which is a psychological context, is referred to as social norm is the
scenario a person of a person maybe is appropriate in a given setting. The people may
exhibit prejudice and discrimination because it conforms and rests within the fulcrums
of what is accepted in society. Generally, society defines a behavior or action of a
person or an individual. Hence a prejudice and discrimination are typical in some
existence within the community. Therefore, it is prudent to consider a social norm as a
significant factor influencing the prejudice and discrimination. Social norms shape
and sharpen the behavior of a person in the way in which society defines the behavior
In summation, prejudice and discrimination in the contemporary world is still
an issue of social concerns. Prejudice and discrimination can be linked as the barriers
to social inclusion in any societal existence around the world. Discrimination may
deny an individual opportunity or affects one in terms of mental health stability.
Nevertheless, when one, for instance, a child is exposed to discrimination and
prejudice persistently, they internalize and normalize that is meted against them.
Despite all this discussion and war against the two vices, the society is still witnessing
decisions being made in line with the vices.
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Kite, M. E., & Whitley Jr, B. E. (2016). Psychology of prejudice and discrimination.
Lei R. F, & Bodenhausen G. V., (2017) Racial assumptions color the mental
representation of social class. Front Psychol 8:519.
Stangor, C. (2016). The study of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination