Write a 100- to 200-word response to each of the following questions. Provide citations for all the sources you use.
What is discrimination? How is discrimination different from prejudice and stereotyping?
Discrimination means to identify the differences between things by placing them in separate groups and then acting differently towards each group on the basis, justified or not, of their differences.
Discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many times, it is an extremely *good* thing. For instance, we discriminate when we differenciate a poisonous plant or fungus from an edible one. Many people. however, discriminate based on flawed or irrelevant reasoning, such as sex, race, sexual orientation, etc.
Prejudice means to judge something before you know enough about it to form an accurate judgement.
Stereotyping means to assume that a person (or other thing) possesses certain traits simply because they belong to a group that you believe (correctly or not) possesses those traits.
What are the causes of discrimination?
Discrimination is often based on ignorance, fear and stereotypical viewpoints. For example, religious and/or sectarian discrimination is often fuelled by people living and working in separate communities and therefore not having ample opportunity to interact with people from the other group. Discrimination in Northern Ireland has not been helped by the fact that most children either go to protestant or catholic schools and many grow up in neighborhoods that are largely divided along the same lines. The erecting of walls (either real or psychological) between communities is a perfect breeding ground for discrimination. It is the responsibility of society to reject a "them and us" mentality wherever it is encountered and to ensure that young people get the opportunity to mix with people who have different backgrounds or characteristics.