Throughout history, prejudice and racism have played an important part. They have been the cause of most of the negative events in American history. There have always been dominant and subordinate groups in society, and they have always had prejudged ideas about one another. Thus prejudice has, in many cases, been manifested as racism, whether by individuals or by society as a whole. Distinguishing between racism and prejudice can be difficult at times, because the two terms are similar.
Prejudice can be defined as "Antipathy based upon a faulty and inflexible generalization. It may be felt or expressed. It may be directed toward a group as a whole or toward an individual because he/she is a member of that group."" (Handout. Race and Ethnic Definitions.) For example, when America was being colonized, Europeans were exploited by Anglo- Saxons. "Europeans, although welcomed for their wealth or potential labor, also suffered from English domination." (Handout. Race and Ethnic Definitions.) In Pennsylvania, where the majority of German immigrants settled, German leaders feared the settlers due to their dislike for English customs and language. (Leonard Dinnerstein. Natives and Strangers. P. 20) Europeans such as Germans were discriminated against through stereotyping, which can be defined as "an overgeneralization associated with a racial or ethnic category that goes beyond existing evidence."" (Handout. Race and Ethnic Definitions) Anglo-Saxon Americans also stereotyped Africans and Native Americans. The prejudice went far beyond generalizing people based on their race, however. The early Americans also acted on their hatred. .
Anglo- Saxons were the dominant group in early America, and they often looked down upon "other- people "that is, anyone who was different from them in any way. "Throughout out history many Americans looked upon outsiders as strange, inferior, or potentially disloyal."" (Dinnerstein, Natives and Strangers P.