Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice: The dictionary defines prejudice as an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge. This means that a person may form an opinion on a person or a particular group of people without having any facts or knowledge about that person or group. Prejudice is normally perceived as being bad but there are some instances where prejudice is an aid to survival for example if you see several scruffy men parked in a van in a dark alley, you will form a pre judgment that they must be up to no good so you choose to not walk down the alley.
They could simply be movers, but healthy prejudice tells you not to take the chance. Discrimination Direct discrimination is defined as treating one particular group of people less favourably than others because of their race, colour, nationality, or ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. There is also positive discrimination in which an individual is allowed to advance themselves because of their gender, race, sexually orientation, age etc. Example if an Asian person is hired simply because they are Asian due to the stereotype that Asians are smart and good students that’s a positive discrimination.
Indirect discrimination is defined as an apparently neutral specification, criteria or practice that would disadvantage people on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation unless the practice can be objectively justified. For example a department store prohibits its employees from wearing hats when serving customers. This rule means that people whose religious beliefs require them to cover their heads, such as Muslim women, are discriminated against and cannot carry out their job.
The store is indirectly discriminating against this group of people unless it can demonstrate that there is valid reason. Stereotyping Stereotyping is a generalisation of people, which is usually negative, untrue, and unjustifiable. The term labelling is used when we take look at a person and place a label on them and then place them in a category for example we could label someone gay because they seem camp even though they may not be gay. People stereotype as it helps people to deal with individuals who are different from themselves.
It makes people feel safe and in their own mind stereotypes allow them to justify their actions towards people. Stereotypes can become self-fulfilling prophecies if the stereotype is re-enforced enough. For example, girls maybe stereotyped as failing more math’s exams than boys this will lead to girls failing to try in exams, as they believe that they are expected to fail. Scapegoating Scapegoating is the practice of singling out an individual or group for unmerited negative treatment or blame. The word “scapegoat” actually originates from Leviticus 16 in the bible.
A goat had all the sins of man placed upon it and it was sent into the wilderness to perish. An example of scapegoating is the Salem Witch Trials. Women were used as scapegoats when the crops were bad or there was a famine and then tried as witches. This was especially the case with midwives, as they would be accused of being in league with Satan if the baby died during birth, which happened frequently due to poor standards of hygiene etc. Part Two Case Study 1 During the first part of the 20th century, deaf people were directly discriminated against due to them being labeled as deaf and dumb.
They were prevented from entering mainstream education and were not considered for any high paying jobs. Most deaf children were sent away to deaf schools and some were sent to asylums, even though they were not mentally ill. However, by sending a sane child to an asylum the stereotype of deaf children being mentally ill became a self-fulfilling prophecy as most the children within the asylum did eventually develop some sort of mental illness to help them cope with their surroundings. Children and adults were not separated in asylums and most of the children were sexually abused or witness to sexual acts from a very young age.
Society was not kind to deaf children, there was no compassion or understanding and most children did not realize they were deaf because no one took the time to explain to them. Families felt embarrassed and ashamed of their deaf offspring, some families even decided not to have any more children for fear that they too would be deaf. Deaf men were also discriminated against during the First World War as they were deemed unfit for service, however, deaf soldiers would have had a distinct advantage over the soldiers who could hear as they would not get shellshock or distracted as easily by the surrounding noises.
Some doctors believed that deafness was cause by a blockage in the ear and others believed it to be a brain dysfunction either way deaf people in asylums were subjected to horrific procedures such as needles being pushed into their eardrums and lobotomies. Deaf children often became strangers within their own families and were often rejected and abandoned this led to low self worth and extreme depression in some cases. As deaf children had no knowledge of language, as it was rarely taught in deaf schools, they developed their own ‘sign language’, which differed from school to school.
This sign language was not universal and was normally only understood by the children at that particular school. Sexual predators also targeted many deaf people, as they were easy targets due to being sexually ignorant. Some countries saw being deaf as a disease that could be eradicated through means such as selective breeding, deaf girls were systematically sterilised and deaf marriage was not allowed. This made the deaf community feel as if they were outcasts and it denied them their rights to have a normal social or sexual relationship with another individual.
However, refuge from the cruel world of the hearing was soon found in what were called ‘Deaf Clubs’. By 1930, every town had its own deaf club, which hosted regular events and outings for the deaf community. These clubs were normally overseen by powerful clergymen and were charities run by hearing people. While the deaf community saw deaf clubs as a lifeline, they also sought to reinforce the segregation of deaf people from the rest of the world. Silent movies were a place where deaf and hearing could share a common love for theatre, deaf people were made to feel like part of society.
However, exclusion would soon become part of the deaf community again with the invention of telephones, radios and televisions. Today there are many acts in place to help deaf people live normal, fulfilling lives within their communities without fear of being ridiculed or committed. 1 Case Study 2 Many men are afraid to tell friends and family that they want to enter nursing as it leads to them being stereotyped as gay because nursing is seen primarily as a female profession. In June 2006, Andrew Moyhing won a landmark case against the NHS for sex discrimination.
Mr Moyhing, 29 said, “I abandoned nursing because I was not allowed to do the job properly in a female-dominated profession. ” 2 The NHS hospital that Mr Moyhing worked for as a student nurse refused to let him perform intimate medical procedures on women unless accompanied by a female chaperone. An article on nursingtimes. net states that currently male nurses only make up 11% of the female dominated sector and are four times more likely to be sanctioned or face discrimination by the NMC. Chaperone policies are in place in many NHS hospitals but they only relate to male nurses, a female nurse does not require a male chaperone to carry out an intimate procedure on a male patient but a male nurse requires a female chaperone. London NHS Trust did admit that the difference in treatment between male and female nurses was direct discrimination. Mr Moyhing claimed he felt he was being regarded as untrustworthy and a potential abuser of females or that the patient was likely to lie and make false accusations.
Jenny Watson, chair of the EOC, said, “The Employment Appeal Tribunal was right to find that it was not acceptable to have a chaperoning policy based on lazy stereotyping about the risks to patients and assumptions that all men are sexual predators. ” 4 The EOC said its research showed that one in four schoolboys were interested in caring work but only one in ten nurses were male. 5 Many organisations and websites are now appearing to offer a support system to male nurses whom maybe facing discrimination from their female work colleagues or bosses.