17 November, 2014
Professor David King
People maintain their personal views and feelings of specific groups which can be both positive and negative. Individuals have a tendency to overlook differences in the members of groups because they believe in the stereotypes. Stereotypes, bias and prejudice are the thoughts and views of a particular group, and discrimination is an action taken against a specific group. People who experience negative life experiences such as bias or discrimination can also suffer from mental and physical problems. Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination
Stereotypes are beliefs that a person has about characteristics and behaviors of individuals of a specific group such as minorities. Stereotypes can be negative or positive in nature and they come from a prior experience with members of a group. Having a previous encounter with someone from a specific group determines how we will see that group in the future (Hilton & von Hippel, 1996).
Reacting intensely towards a person due to feelings about a group in its entirety is showing prejudice which can be either positive or negative affective reactions (Fiske, 2010). Forms of prejudice can be towards a specific gender which is called sexism or to a specific race which is known as racism. Many people deal with prejudice on a day to day basis which can affect the development of personality and identity (Operario & Fiske, 2001).
When a person is treated differently and less favorably as another because of a certain trait they have and the other person lacks they have been discriminated against. If they are treated equally, then neither of them has been exposed to discrimination (Heckman, 2005). People that act upon their prejudice or stereotypes and treat people unfairly have discriminated them. Discrimination can be in the form of slurs, improper jokes, verbal discrimination and put downs which will create a hostile environment (Fiske, 2010). An example of discrimination would be where someone was not hired for a position at an agency due to their race, gender or having a disability.
Subtle and Blatant Bias
Subtle bias is not direct and occurs in non-verbal behavior like the speed of a response on a survey. Individuals may be asked if they are biased towards a specific group and will hesitate in their response because they do not want to be overtly biased. People will exaggerate cultural characteristics and the differences between them. Subtle prejudice is known as modern prejudice, it is a negative connotation to be prejudice in today’s society so people have adapted and are not flagrant with their feelings towards a certain group (Fiske, 2010).
Subtle bias can be considered advantageous due to the social motive of belonging. People in a group can share their stereotypical views and enhance their union as a group. Sharing prejudicial views can strengthen views of group superiority and dominance over other groups (Fiske, 2010).
Blatant prejudice, also known as old fashioned prejudice, is direct and out in the open. Individuals will openly discuss their negative views of specific groups and will not hide their honest feelings. Overt bias emphasizes controlling and belonging core social motives. Victims of hate crimes suffer from bias that is direct and not hidden. People use blatant bias to justify the current structure of inequality (Fiske, 2010).
Impact of Bias on Individuals
Being cognizant of subtle bias can aid in shielding individuals from the negative effects. When a person is aware that others have a prejudicial view, they can adapt to the view and handle the stress from it. Some individuals are affected mentally and physically from racial and ethnic bias and women’s psychological well-being can suffer from gender discrimination and bias (Fiske, 2010).
Dealing with prejudice and bias is a normal, everyday fact for many individuals which can be detrimental to their mental and physical health.