Prejudices and Stereotypes

Picure of The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry reportA prejudice is an unjustified or inaccurate opinion or belief, often based on somebody’s unchallenged preconceptions, limited experience, or uncritical acceptance of others’ views. Prejudice literally means ‘pre-judgement’

Our prejudices can be powerful in forming our world views, and in influencing things like our choice of friends, occupations and personal politics.

Graffiti in Shrewsbury 2005 depicting a swastika and the text 'white is right'

Graffiti in Shrewsbury 2005

Prejudices are also powerful in creating discrimination against others who are seen as ‘different’ in ways that are used to discri-minate against them, and that lead to them being treated as ‘less than’ other people. In an equality context, prejudices are negative beliefs or opinions such as racism or sexism, or homophobia.

Drawing of the evil witch that hands Snowwhite the appleStereotypes are assumptions we make about an entire group of people based on experiences or stories about some members of the group or on prejudices about them. A stereotype is applied to all members of a group, whether or not it applies in reality, and more often than not such stereotypes are incorrect.

Picture of an MailOnline Article with the headline "Grasping policitians pocket spinster's 500k legacy she bequeathed to government to spend 'as they may think fit' ' An example might be “all Asians are good at maths”, which stereotypes all Asians. Of course some Asians are good at maths, and others are not. Similarly, despite the fact we know it isn’t true there is a widespread stereotype that all black people are good athletes. Again, of course some are: but not all. Many stereotypes are
hurtful and damaging and can reinforce prejudices about particular groups, leading to discrimination or oppression

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