Prejudice: Meaning and Issues

An unfavorable bias or opinion against a person or people from a certain group is what we mean when we talk about bias. Even if subconsciously, it may significantly impact how individuals act and interact with others, especially those who are different from them. Bias often manifests in hostile attitudes, false ideas, and outright discrimination against a social group. Biases exist on a wide range of grounds, encompassing race, gender, religion, culture, & more.

The Issue of Prejudice

When individuals have biased views of others, they often see everyone with the distinguishing attribute as "the same." They generalize everyone who shares certain traits or opinions instead of seeing them for who they are as distinct people. People's views and interactions with Christians, Muslims, and Jews may be colored by their preconceived notions about their religions. All races, including Blacks, Whites, and Asians, have equal opportunities. The features of bias are often the following−

  • Feelings of dissatisfaction

  • Constraints based on preconceived notions

  • A disposition toward treating members of one group unfairly

Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other bigotry towards certain groups are too common today.

Forms of Discrimination

Bias may be broken down into several categories, some of which are as follows−

  • Discrimination is based on a person's age, such as saying they are "too old" or "too young" for a job or hobby.

  • Classism Assuming less of someone because of their socioeconomic status or treating them inferiorly because of their socioeconomic status is an example of classism.

  • Homophobia refers to a bias towards those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ group because of their sexual orientation or gender expression.

  • Nationalism is the view that one's own people's interests are more significant than those of other nations, cultures, and languages.

  • Racism is the unfavorable attitude toward people of a given racial and ethnic group that has its roots in oppressive power structures.

  • Religious Bias An unfavorable attitude toward another person because of religious views is called religious bias.

  • Sexism to be sexist is to have preconceived notions about a person based on their appearance, sexual orientation, or the fact that they are a man or a woman.

  • Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of people seen as "foreign" or "strange," typically about one's nation.

Development and Maintenance of Prejudice and Discrimination

The following list includes how psychologists have categorized the causes and maintainers of prejudice −

Status and power dynamics

Prejudice may sometimes be caused by how two groups are positioned concerning one another regarding relative status and power. For instance, when one dominating group enslaves another, enslaved people are likely to be stereotyped as unmotivated, careless, and lazy. These ideas stem from the reality that enslaved people obey their owners' commands rather than being given a chance to show initiative or responsibility. Because the structure of relationships governs their behavior, their views about them are consistent with that behavior.

Historical information

Prejudice and prejudice arise from the allocation of political power among various groups and the history of economic strife. Historical occurrences influenced the formation of attitudes that eventually manifested as prejudice. One such example is discrimination against women in our culture. Women have long been stigmatized as being helpless, dependent, and having tools. This prejudice originated from the horrors committed against women, which people continued to tolerate out of a sense of responsibility.

Situational variables

Various contextual elements in the person's immediate environment might also contribute to bias formation.

Societal education

Every person learns and develops views, values, and attitudes from their parents, their school, their religion, and their church during the socialization process. These socialization influences always pass on to the kid their preconceptions. In addition, it has been demonstrated that parenting techniques contribute to the emergence of bias and discrimination.

Lack of employment opportunities

An overabundance of candidates are two significant economic factors that contribute to the emergence of bias. As a result, the sons of soil hypothesis were born. One of the causes for the Marathi campaign against North Indians in Mumbai and other areas of Maharashtra, for instance, is economic. North Indians traveling to Mumbai are willing to spend more time at the office and receive lower pay than locals.

Compliance with Norms

When bias and discrimination against the outgroup are well-established, the associated thoughts and sentiments about them are normative. Members of the ingroup share them and anticipate that other members will also have them. It is possible to describe the causes behind compliance to prejudiced standards regarding the various reward-cost consequences of conformity or nonconformity. If prejudice and discrimination against other groups are the norms, group members will support overt displays of prejudice and discrimination.

Patterns of interaction

Prejudice and prejudice lead to certain interaction patterns that help to keep things as they are. Numerous interactional patterns promote group cohesiveness and the group's ability to impose adherence to discriminatory and prejudiced standards. Cohesion is likely to rise due to any factor that makes group members more reliant on one another. The ingroup's interaction patterns may make members more economically dependent on one another.

Results of Discrimination

Bias has far-reaching consequences for both individuals and communities.

Deterioration of Health

Several scientific studies have shown direct and indirect links between bias and deteriorating health. Living in a hazardous environment and having less access to health services are only two examples of the direct effects of bias. Stress due to discrimination and other changes in health behavior are examples of unintended consequences. Other studies have shown that people's mental health suffers when they are exposed to bias, which has negative effects on their ethnic identity and their sense of hope. There may be physical and emotional repercussions from being a group member subjected to bias, whether that discrimination is actual or imagined.

Racism Rises

As well as contributing to mistaken assumptions, stereotypes may fuel bias. They may make it harder for a discriminated individual to get work, rent an apartment, and more. Potentially violent consequences await. According to the research, discrimination might also severely affect health. Being the target of bias may result in less favorable living situations, less access to adequate healthcare, and higher stress levels. According to studies, a victim's spouse might also feel the effects of bias, including an increased risk of depression and pressure on the relationship.


It is a kind of discrimination that often occurs in the workplace. 59% of females and 27% of men in a 2018 poll reported experiencing sexual harassment on the job. Harassment based on a person's color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs is another bias-based harassment.

Segregation and Multiculturalism Have Declined

Today, individuals have relatively unrestricted opportunities to travel. One research found that the degree of national pride an individual felt affected their attitude toward foreigners seeking to settle in that nation. Policy decisions on immigration are likely to reflect existing biases, making it more difficult for members of a particular immigrant group to enter the country if such biases exist. Separation may also be the result of bias and bias.

Who drives Prejudice?

The murder of George Floyd has brought attention back to the issue of oppression around the globe, which has always been there, whether it takes the form of religious persecution, repression of women, or racism. Bias occurs when someone forms an opinion about another person or an issue before having all the facts. As a result, humans naturally tend to form quick, broad judgments about situations. Unconsciously, individuals classify one another based on factors such as gender, ethnicity, and religion.

As social beings, humans find meaning and purpose in the communities to which they either already or want to belong. However, it is important to remember that making fast judgments about others is only sometimes a good idea and is a breeding ground for bias and generalizations. While this may seem logical, a school of thought argues that it need not lead to increased inequality and social isolation.


Bias, "Prejudgment is predicated on categorization. That approach is required, and it aids with lifestyle management." Classifying things, people, & ideas helps us comprehend the world. There is too much data to process methodically, clearly, and rationally. Fortunately, fast judgment leads to incorrect assumptions that harm people and society. To make our world more accepting and equal, we must comprehend bias and its sources. Naturally, more work is required. Maintain critical dialogues, recognize biases, and get to understand others.

Updated on: 10-Apr-2023


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