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Bias/Stereotyping/Prejudice/Discrimination

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Bias, Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination

So what's the difference between them? They are seemingly the same, but in essence, they have subtle differences... The following are the dictionary definitions of the respective words: 

Prejudice
preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

Bias
inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair

Stereotyping
a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing

Discrimination
the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex

(Source: Google Dictionary)


Further explanation to clarify your doubts (if any):

The following image illustrates a stereotype:

Recap: A stereotype is a widely held but oversimplified idea of a particular type of person or thing

In this case, it shows the stereotype that anyone who looks like they originate from Middle East should know Arabic language, where in this case, this is not true. Majority of people who originate from Middle East should know Arabic language, but NOT everyone does, hence this assumption is a generalisation.


Next, this image exemplifies a prejudice (though a comical one):
Recap: Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

In this example, it is taken for granted that someone whose head looks like a lightbulb is someone who "lights up the room". Perhaps the person is just born this way, who knows? He just has a lightbulb head but it doesn't mean that he is someone who "lights up the room".

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