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Prejudice, Discrimination and the ‘Fear of Difference’

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Prejudice is an antipathy towards another person based upon pre-existing belief or opinion, resulting from some form of social categorisation or membership of a particular group. It relies upon a stereotypical characterisation, or generalisation, of others, which is not grounded in evidence or experience. In this sense, prejudicial views are not based upon rational judgements and are inherently unjust. In some cases, the views held about the members of another group are so exaggerated and misconceived that they become almost laughable. However, it is easy to dismiss them as the product of ignorant and closed minds as they can often be part of a social system which creates a hierarchical order, justifying discrimination in order to preserve the position of the superior group.


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© 2005 Ted Cantle

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Cantle, T. (2005). Prejudice, Discrimination and the ‘Fear of Difference’. In: Community Cohesion. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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