Difference Between Prejudice and Discrimination

Difference Between Prejudice and Discrimination

What’s the difference between prejudice and discrimination? There is no doubt that the two concepts have some correlation. Although they have similarities, they also have disparities. So, if you’re not sure about the disparity, that’s fine.

Furthermore, these practices always manifest themselves negatively and have lived with mankind since time immemorial. More often than not, the two anomalies are found where a large tribe meets a smaller tribe. In the real world, both terms have led to unspeakable abuse, murder, and hardship.

Moreover, in the familiar context, the two terms have been used interchangeably on countless occasions. However, they are used, we must make it clear that there is a difference between discrimination and prejudice. This simply means that we need to be aware of the contrasts in order to use them correctly.

That is why in this guide you will learn, through relevant theories and examples, how to break down in detail the difference between prejudice and discrimination sociology. As always, we will guide you through this document starting with definitions, tabulated contrast, and conclusion.

Definition of Prejudice

It is unfair behavior towards a person because that person is a member of a larger social group. Although this feeling or attitude may, in fact, be antisocial or acceptable, it is still belligerent. It is also about beliefs about people – it can also be about their way of life.

Because it is already a prejudice, it is always difficult for the holders to change such attitudes. Often it stems from not having a thorough knowledge of the people in question. More importantly, this conduct may be conscious or unconscious. In many countries of the world, races and tribes are still the targets.

According to sociologists, the causes of such behavior towards others are low self-esteem and low meaning. These experts attribute the root causes as:

  • Socialization: It is believed that these body languages are generally passed on from parents to their children. There have been cases where the media have targeted certain people, using degrading images and stereotypes to describe them.
  • Social Benefits: Studies have also shown that this feeling is aggravated when two races compete for certain benefits, such as getting a plum job. It, therefore, tends to deteriorate in times of hardship.
  • Ethnocentrism: This is a common practice of assessing people’s culture based on your cultural norms or standards. When a tribe feels this way, it can also lead to this.
  • Conflict theory: This is a disturbing practice – which could exist within a tribe – where people cling to social status, power and possession. Basically, members of the tribe that has the position make sure that they don’t make room for competition in some way. As a result, they still enjoy all these privileges.

For example, the responses from the 2018 General Social Survey show that it is very likely that society will say that Caucasians are smart rather than say that African Americans are smart. This is an example of this attitude.

So far, we have taken some time to explain the first term. In order to differentiate between prejudice and discrimination, we will first have to explain what the second is.

Definition of Discrimination

Basically, it is unacceptable behavior or actions towards an individual or people. This action usually focuses on sex, gender, social status and a host of other factors. A typical example is Apartheid, which existed in South Africa between 1948 and 1994. In this case, blacks were not allowed to vote and lived in different communities than whites.

Another example is anti-Semitism, which began during the Second World War. Anti-Semitism is the hatred of Jews. As history tells us, Jews living in Germany and other German-occupied territories were forced to wear yellow stars just to identify themselves. At the same time, the Nazis were going to put them in concentration camps.

In a general context, this could be against race, age, and gender. These are by far the most common forms that exist in our world today.

At the stage, we have made some progress in an effort to clarify the difference between discrimination and prejudice. In the future, we will use a table to differentiate between them.

Prejudice and Discrimination Comparison Table

The table below gives more insight into the difference between prejudice and discrimination.    

Basis of ComparisonPrejudice Discrimination
Meaning It is the attitude (acceptable or unjust) adopted by one person or group towards another It is an unfriendly action brought against another person because of their age, race or sex
Use This is rarely used as the legal ecosystem This is usually used as a legal term
Description Inherent attitude against another person Unpleasant behavior or action towards another person 
Legal Control Laws can rarely control it Since it is perceived as a legal problem, it can be controlled by strict laws        
Inherent benefits Those who participate in this may have no benefits Those who discriminate always do so because they have something to gain
Acceptability This could either be positive or negative This is always negative

Indeed, the table above has tried to explain the difference between prejudice and discrimination. Now, we will conclude this article.

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Prejudice vs Discrimination

So far, we have made some progress. It is safe to say that the major difference between prejudice and discrimination is while the former has to do with a biased attitude, the latter focuses on behavior or mistreatment/unfair action. To give meaning to these two words, it must be said that a race may have prejudicial attitudes but cannot discriminate because it is forbidden by law to do so or because it does not have the will to do so.

This simply means that the former, when left unmanaged, leads to the latter. On the other hand, there are cases where a tribe discriminates without having prejudicial attitudes. Over the years, experts have found effective solutions to contain these two unacceptable phenomena, but there are pockets of places where they are still widespread. For example, anti-Semitism is still widespread in Germany, while tribalism is still commonplace in Africa. However, the world has made good progress in reducing both phenomena to the bare minimum.

Do you still find it difficult to understand this disparity? If so, we will make it very clear once again. Again, the major difference between prejudice and discrimination is that the former concerns the attitude of one person or group towards another, while the latter relates to an unjust action taken against another. Indeed, we have broken down the concepts in the best possible way. Although they present some contrasts, they are certainly highly correlated. The table above clearly shows this contrast.