What are stereotypes?
Stereotypes are the fixed pictures we carry aroung in our heads of various groups of people.
When we stereotype a group of people we are giving them a label or category.
Stereotyping is part of our socialisation and in every culture there are different stereotypes.
e.g. Girls cry alot,
Boys like fighting,
Men watch football
Why can stereotypes be harmful?
While many stereotypes can be: innocent & inoffesive - many can be harmful.
Stereotypes which apply to representations of:
- social class
...are often negative and therefore offensive.
Why are people used as scapegoats?
Using a stereotype to blame a whole group of people for something they have not neccessarily done is called scapegoating.
Minorities or outsider groups are often targets of scapegoating.
- They are the weaker groups in society wih less power to influence popular opinion
The following are all examples of problems which have been placed on minorities:
- rising prices
The mass media often helps to form and influence stereotypes and scapegoats.
What are prejudices?
Prejudice means to form an opinion of someone before knowing anything about them - therefore you pre-judge them.
e.g. If the stereotype of Americans is that they are loud and obese then it may lead to negative opinion of Americans. Not wanting to get to know or accept anything positive about Americans is a prejudice because a whole nation is being pre-judged.
Where does prejudice come from?
- Occurs when people come together in groups called tribes because they have a shared identity. When one tribe comes into contact with another, they can be suspicious or afraid of each other.
- Has prompted some countries to believe they are superior to others, causeing them to invade other countires.
- Information which is used to influence others' opinions and may bend the facts or not tell the whole story.
How do prejudices lead to discrimination?
Stereotying -> Scapegoating & Prejudice -> Discrimination
Discrimination is when prejudices are acted on adn attitudes become actions.
Discrimination in society
Racial discrimination e.g. during WW2 there were protests in the American army that black nurses treating white soldiers would not be appropriate.
Gender discrimination e.g. under current rules, women are not allowed to serve in either the infantry or the Royal Armoured Corps
Class discrimination e.g. state school pupils are still being 'ignored' by top instituations/universities.
Disability discrimination e.g. people with disablities are often seen as having a problem which makes them less than complete human beings. Such attitudes have led society to treat them separaretly in almost every area of life.
Employment discrimination e.g. Sadek has finished his school education but he knows he will not be considered for certain jobs because of his name and his Muslim backgroud.
Equal Rights legislation in the UK
Examples of laws from the equal rights legislation:
- Disabilities Discrimination Act 1999
- Equal Pay and Discrimination Act 1970
- Race Relations Act
- Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008
These laws make it illegal to discriminate against people on the grounds of: