Prejudice is an idea or opinion that is not based on fact, logic or actual experience. Prejudice is usually referred to as a negative attitude, especially when it is a hatred or intolerance for certain kinds of people. When a person acts on his prejudice, then it becomes discrimination.

Prejudice: Historically and Now

  • Until the early years of the twentieth century, women were not allowed to vote.
  • The holocaust happened partially because of a prejudice towards Jews.
  • In Afghanistan, when the Taliban were in charge, women could not be educated and had to cover their faces when outside their home.
  • Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia and they are required to walk behind the man who is with them.
  • In the United States, black people could not sit in the front of buses or use the same water fountains as white people until the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Private clubs are often exclusive. For example, some don’t allow members who are Black or Jewish.
  • Some people will not buy a Japanese car because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
  • After 9/11, anyone who looked Middle Eastern was looked at suspiciously and was often the victim of prejudice.
  • Some landlords will not rent to a gay couple.
  • After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese that lived in the US were rounded up and put into camps because of the war with Japan.
  • Hallmark, the card company, has swapped the word ‘gay’ for ‘fun’ in the song ‘Deck the Halls.’
  • In the past, some companies only hired females to be secretaries.
  • Some people assume that all tall people or all Blacks are good at basketball.
  • Apartheid in South Africa was racial segregation where non-whites could not vote and had to live in separate communities.
  • In a divorce, women are usually given custody, which is a sex-based prejudice.
  • Bullying can be caused by a prejudice against people who are different.
  • Some people assume someone is gay because of the way they act.
  • The hobby retailer Hobby Lobby has been known to not sell Jewish menorahs.
  • Some parents will not approve their offspring marrying anyone of a different religion.
  • Some corporations hire women but do not promote any of them to supervisory positions.
  • It is sometimes assumed that someone who is physically disabled is also mentally disabled.

Prejudice in Movies and Literature

  • In the movie Crash, Jean doesn’t want her husband to hire a certain person because of the way he dresses. She assumes he is violent or uses drugs, but he turns out to be respectable.
  • In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, women are thought of as objects and wives.
  • Also in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, there are social class prejudices. Darcy did not consider Elizabeth as a possible wife because of her low social status.
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, some citizens look down on the poorer citizens who live on the outskirts of town.
  • Also in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Tom Robinson becomes a scapegoat because he is Black.
  • Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee kept to himself because of prejudice towards him because of his troubled past. He was only timid and turned out to be nothing like people’s perceptions.
  • In the movie, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a black doctor is engaged to a white woman. At the time of this movie, interracial marriage was illegal in 17 states.

Now that you have seen examples of prejudice, check out some stereotype examples and some examples of bias.

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