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FROM PREJUDICE TO DISCRIMINATION A prejudice is an unjustified negative attitude toward a group a category of people or a cultural practice Prejudice against a group carries a strong emotional discomfort with dislike of or outright hatred of its members Often it is based on a negative stereotype that resists rational argument Some prejudices come from experience such as unpleasant or baffling encounter with someone from another ethnic group Many prejudices are passed along from parents to children in messages that say We dont associate with people like that sometimes without either generation having ever met the object of their dislike Some come from the images that the media convey for instance of men and women blacks and whites young and old Once people have formed attitudes in general and prejudices in particular they are reluctant to change their minds for several reasons 1 The cognitive payoff 2 The social payoff 3 The economic payoff 4 The psychological payoff People cling to some attitudes like life preservers but they are persuaded to give up others The more payoffs there off for maintaining an attitude the more resistant it will be to change The different casual connections between attitudes and behavior can be seen clearly in the case of prejudice In some cases the attitude prejudice leads to behavior discrimination Discrimination may be subtle as when a person refuses to associate with targets of the prejudice It may be accepted social practice as when members of one group refuse to hire or promote people who are different from them In extreme cases it can take the form of efforts to control or exterminat Frasier 2 members of the group In the United States prejudice has led to the lynching of blacks bombing of synagogues the massacre of Native Americans the illegal imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II the harassment of homosexuals and other violent acts against minority groups But sometimes people who have prejudiced
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