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Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination

            Stereotyping can be defined as "generalizations about a group of people in which the same characteristics are assigned to all members of a group. Prejudice is "a learned attitude toward a object, involving negative feelings (dislike or fear), negative beliefs (stereotypes) that justify the attitude, and a behavioral intention to avoid, control, dominate, or eliminate those in the target group". A definition of discrimination is "an unjustified negative or harmful behavior towards a member group, simply because of his or her membership in that group". When looking at each as a component, it can be said that stereotyping is the cognitive component, prejudice the affective component and discrimination the behavioral. .
             Stereotypes are beliefs and are often shared. This makes them strong and we get consensual validation of our stereotypes. In fact, consensual validation suggests that these attributions are not beliefs, but facts. Stereotyping does not allow for exceptions or individual differences. An example would be the statement, "black people are good dancers". It is inaccurate and often derogatory and prejudges a person's ability, skills and personality based on unfair assumptions about racial, physical or cultural traits. To be fair, an individual should be judged on his or her merit regardless of race, religious beliefs, color, gender, physical and/or mental disability, marital status, family status, source of income, age, ancestry, place of origin or sexual orientation. Stereotyping can often lead to prejudice.
             Prejudice being a learned attitude, is partly based on the evaluative implication of stereotypic beliefs. It is often learned at an early stage and is irrational and not based on reality. Discrimination is a behavior that follows from biased attitudes. It is a behavior that often leads to harassment and has a negative social and economic impact. .
             To the extent that stereotypes are shared beliefs, prejudice and stereotypes are not necessarily correlated.

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