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The Controversy on Prejudice and Discrimination

Prejudice and discrimination are so widespread in modern life that it is often assumed they are in the nature of a man. However, different societies have very different levels of prejudice and discrimination. For example, in ancient times, white people had a favorable attitude towards black people, which is dramatically different from the situation typical to the modern history. Attitude toward Jews in modern countries is different – from the Holocaust in Nazi Germany to equality in the United States and other Western countries.

Prejudice is unfriendly and hostile attitude towards members of the group only on the grounds that they belong to this group and are a priori endowed with objectionable properties attributed to this group. Prejudice is a state of consciousness, the feeling, opinion or tendency. The sociologist Herbert Blumer notes that the members of the dominant group are characterized by the following four senses: the sense that they are superior to the members of the minority; the feeling that members of minorities are inherently different from them; the feeling that the members of the dominant group have the legal right to receive privileges, power and prestige; the fear and suspicion that minority wants to get the benefits of the dominant group. In this sense, prejudice is often inextricably linked to the dominant position occupied by the group.

If prejudice is an opinion, discrimination is an unjustified refusal to privilege, prestige and power to the members of the minority, which according to their abilities and skills are equal to members of the dominant group. Prejudice does not necessarily coincide with discrimination – direct correlation between looks and hostile action is not always inevitable. Sociologist Robert Merton distinguishes four types of relationship between prejudice and discrimination, and gives the following definitions of the individuals belonging to such types:

A committed liberal is a man without prejudice, never involved in discrimination.

Fluctuating liberal is a man without prejudice, nevertheless involved in discrimination under public pressure.

Racist at heart is a man with prejudice, which, however, will not engage in discrimination under public pressure.

Convinced racist is a person with prejudice, which did not hesitate to act in accordance with own views.

Merton points out that the legislation based on the principle of equal opportunities, has the most significant impact on the fluctuating liberal and racist at heart.

Prejudice and discrimination are so widespread in modern life that it is often assumed they are in the nature of a man. However, different societies have very different levels of prejudice and discrimination. For example, in ancient times, white people had a favorable attitude towards black people, which is dramatically different from the situation typical to the modern history.

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100000664
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CREATED ON
July 9, 2016
COMPLETED ON
July 10, 2016
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$15
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