Prejudice and racism are two words society must be ready to eliminate. Why? These powerful words can hurt people’s feelings and cause chaos.
Wars and xenophobia have broken out. People have developed hatred for their fellow human beings because of these words.
The call to sensitize Americans and create a better environment where different races can live hasn’t been effective enough. We still have much to do as a people.
A study the Pew Research Center conducted shows that approximately 40% of white Americans are convinced that the United States has succeeded in making the changes needed to offer blacks and whites equal opportunities in society. Unfortunately, most people in the black community feel this way. The study shows that only 8% agreed to it.
We can start the sensitization by understanding what racism and prejudice mean. What are the differences? Let’s find out.
What Is Racism?
Everyone in society today can explain what racism means and even give examples. Most people or racists even understand the danger racial abuse can cause. But it’s unfortunate that most people don’t care about others’ feelings.
Dozens of people are being racially abused daily because of their race, language, skin color, and financial status. But this has to stop.
What does racism mean? It’s a belief that race is the major factor that determines human traits and capacities and that racial difference gives rise to an inherent superiority of a specific race.
There are other definitions of racism.
For example, racism is the belief that one race is superior to another. Racism occurs when an individual of a certain race hates another from a different race.
The surprising thing about racism is that the superiority that the racists’ claim they have over those they abuse racially is measured by skin color, customs, traditions, language, place of birth, and other baseless things.
Racial abuse happens now and then. We have seen athletes, especially people of color, racially abused because they made mistakes that probably cost their teams the game. Unfortunately, the athlete in question didn’t make a mistake consciously and didn’t deserve to be racially abused.
The world must understand that racism is a pandemic, if not worse than it. It can shatter a person’s emotional state, allowing depression to take over.
Other things racism can lead to include:
- Hierarchical ranking
Racism has been in place since the existence of humankind. It didn’t start today, but we must try to end it.
Racism can lead to several vices that can make society a lawless one. It can cause chaos, such as wars and even slavery. So we must eliminate it from society.
What Is Prejudice?
Prejudice is different from racism. But before we discuss the differences, let’s define this term.
Prejudice is also called pre-judgment. It refers to an underserved and often negative attitude shown towards another based on the individual’s membership in a social group.
What do we mean by “membership of a social group?” It means factors that can give rise to prejudice. Examples include caste, race, language, religion, gender, political opinion, and others.
Prejudice is dangerous, though not as racism. Having preconceived ideas or views about a specific race can lead to racism. Note also that these preconceived ideas or judgments aren’t based on experiences or facts.
What causes prejudice is the lack of information and awareness. Those that express prejudice against people from other backgrounds do so ignorantly. When you get closer to them and try to figure out why they’re hostile to people from other backgrounds, you’ll understand that they don’t have any tangible reasons.
That’s why we say prejudice is underserved. No individual deserves to be looked down upon or treated like an outcast in a society where they should feel safe.
What damage can prejudice cause? It can cause a lot of damage.
Like racism, prejudice can negatively affect people’s opportunities, sense of belonging, and well-being.
One thing that people who commit prejudice against others are known for is their persistent abuse. It’s almost like they’re blind and can’t see the pain they’re subjecting their victims to.
People must understand that constant exposure to these discriminations might cause the victims to internalize the stigma or prejudice directed against them. This will manifest in low-self esteem, fear, stress, shame, and even poor health.
What Causes Racism And Prejudice?
Several factors are responsible for racism and prejudice. But to eliminate both from our society, we must start by understanding their root causes.
Let’s start with racism. What factors give rise to racism?
Things that cause racism:
- Self-interest and greed: Many experts’ views about racism are that it was developed to justify self-interest and greed. For example, for about 400 years, European investors enslaved people. They didn’t do so because of hatred for the enslaved people’s race. Rather, they did it for business reasons. They needed enslaved people to keep their sugar, tobacco, and cotton business going.
- Discriminatory policies: The government’s policy played a role in reinforcing the racist belief. When the policy is discriminatory, as was the case when housing laws prevented blacks from owning houses in certain white-dominated neighborhoods, the racists will feel they’re doing the right thing.
- Representation in media: The manner the media represents people of a certain race, language, and religion on TV, books, music, movies, radio, and social media will influence how the rest of society will view them.
- A strong desire to maintain law and order: We all want a peaceful society, but that shouldn’t come at others’ expense. Racism is conceived when people are so focused on keeping the peace in a society that they don’t care about what happens to a specific race. For example, racists might believe black people are naturally violent and dangerous. So, when police brutally abuse or mass incarcerate blacks, they rejoice. They won’t feel or show any remorse.
Things that cause prejudice:
- Enhanced self-esteem: Prejudiced individuals believe they’re superior to the group they act hostile towards. They often talk negatively about the group whenever their ego or self-esteem feels threatened.
- Competition: Everyone wants a good job, school, adequate housing, and other benefits. The struggle to achieve these things causes a group of prejudiced individuals to label people belonging to a certain social group as enemies. They believe talking negative things about the group will boost their chances of winning the unnecessary competition they have created in their heads.
The Difference Between Racism And Prejudice
Here are the differences that exist between racism and prejudice.
1: You can classify racism as a product of prejudice. Unfortunately, you cannot say the same for prejudice. Prejudice can lead to racism, but not in every case.
2: Another thing that causes racism is the dislike or hatred an individual or group has for another individual or group. However, prejudice is majorly caused by ignorance.
3: Sociologists have discovered that racism has a hugely detrimental effect on people of color. In addition to increasing black people’s risk of police brutality, it has led to unequal access to housing and even jobs.
4: The destructive result of racism is far higher than prejudice.
5: Racism comprises unequal distribution of power based on race. On the other hand, prejudice refers to a preconceived idea one may have about a specific group out of nowhere.
We hope you now understand the differences between racism and prejudice. We also defined both terms to give a clear understanding of their meanings.
Racism is the belief that one race is superior to another. People are racially abused for several reasons. These include skin color, language, race, gender, etc.
Prejudice is also called pre-judgment. It means an undeserved hatred an individual or certain group of people has against another group because of their social group.
Several differences between racism and prejudice exist. For example, prejudice can result in racism, but racism is a result of prejudice.
Racism is a product of the hatred and dislikes an individual or group of people have against others. However, prejudice is a product of ignorance.
Racism and prejudice have no place in society. They can threaten the peace of society and can result in chaos such as war. We must understand that no race is superior to others and must tolerate others for who they are.
Being black doesn’t make a person less of a human than a white person. The difference is just the skin color and nothing more.