Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Stereotypes, Discrimination, Racism, Bias, Community, Prejudice, People, Psychology

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/21

Impacts of Prejudices, Stereotypes, and Discrimination

Impacts of Prejudices, Stereotypes, and Discrimination
There is a challenging reality about living in a diverse country that includes the experience of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Social psychologist study these symptoms that accompany a variety of races, cultures, ethnicities or any characteristic that distinguishes people in a drastic manner are areas of interest because of the implications they have on how one functions. Understanding the dynamics that are associated with prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination within the study of social psychology are the purpose of the essay. An in depth comprehensive of the subject is useful in the study of human behavior.

Defining the Terms

Before delving into the concepts of the paper, understanding the proper meaning of each term is necessary to provide a factual definition of the words. The meanings should be understood from the perspective of social psychology. Prejudice involves developing a negative attitude towards an individual or group of people that one is unfamiliar with because of faulty opinions generalizing the group of people. Stereotyping is the generalization of a trait common to a group of people that limits one’s ability to see them as an individual; often a person’s experience of from the past of certain characteristic of people can cause the stereotyping of the others who share similar characteristic traits. Discrimination involves the acting out or changing of one’s behavior towards individuals or groups that one feels prejudice towards. Lastly, there is the ‘in-group’ and ‘out-group ‘concept, which is almost self-explanatory. The in-group is the people within one’s familiar group that there’s comfort with. The out-groups are ‘the others’, all the people who are not in the in-group that one generally is better since there are commonalities shared.
In my societal experience of life, I could relate to all three terms. As an individual I have behaved and been treated by other groups with prejudice, stereo type, and discrimination. An example from this would be the way that the groups in my high school would split up often based on certain characteristic traits. I was one of the individuals that was somewhat of an eccentric person and fit into the group of ‘goths’ who were accepted as ‘cool’; however the athletes and cheerleaders were not going to intermingle and date a member of the goth group. As a member of the in-group of Goth’s we held a belief that we were smarter and better than all the other out-groups at the school. Our group believed we were smarter, more artistic, more mature, and able to understand life on a deeper level, which led us to think less of the others at school.

Origins of Prejudice and Stereotypes

Exploring how prejudice and stereotyping occur begins with breaking down the factors that are involved in the development of these traits. There are social, cognitive, and societal influences that are responsible for forming prejudice and stereotypes in various groups and individuals. In early childhood, most people are picking up on their parent’s opinions and the societal environment that is common to the child and family. The cognitive development of prejudice and stereotype become a type of schema that is associated with how the people in their environment viewed their in-group and the perception of various out-groups in those years. As an individual gets older, they often carry these same prejudices and stereotypes unless there is an interruption in that belief system, which is often likely as their social exposure changes. If an individual is raised in a very religious conservative family that attends a church that categorizes homosexuals as sinners or unacceptable, the person most likely adopts similar attitudes. Then as he or she goes off to college, they make a friend who is a homosexual, which then opens up their horizon to this group that was once an out-group that he or she judged. The person begins to form his or her own opinions based on the exposure and may shift their attitude. So as one begins life, the societal and cognitive factors are the building blocks for the prejudices and stereotypes that are ingrained; however, social influence begins to influence that view in one direction or the other.
The common issue of racism is infamous for the way people categorize one another. Individuals from the African American in-group may categorize the body types of white women as unattractive due to having smaller hips and breast, or mock a white individual’s ability to play sports or dance. The flip side of the prejudices behind racism would be from the white group who considers the blacks as the out-group who are labeled at less educated and likely to be troublemakers. These are norms that are often formulated which then create inequality in opportunities for the groups.
Of these three factors that influence the prejudice and stereotypes, the most significant one in society would be the cognitive ones that are formed by a subconscious method that one often is not even aware of. As far as my community is involved, the most significant factor that creates prejudice and stereotypes is the social aspect.

How these Affect Life

There are many things in life that influence the stereotypes that are created, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, the media, religion, and several more that could be listed. It is important that these differences are not amplified to divide the groups. The problem is that there is a white versus black people, men versus women, Christians versus Muslims, heterosexuals versus homosexuals that create this segregation among the groups that attracts negative stereotypes and prejudice. These stereotypes the groups create among their in-group are harmful to our society as a whole. Issue of racism, sexism, religious wars, and so many other problems are caused by these stereotypes that may seem harmless but are actually tremendously hurtful to the well-being of the citizens of America and the world.
Education and awareness of these self-fulfilling issues that are created by prejudice and stereotyping are crucial in teaching the newer generations that these habits of dividing among groups are not healthy. Topics, such as the one discussed here will help in minimizing the ignorance of behaviors that have caused harm to society for as long as one can remember.
The concepts of prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination have been examined allowing a deeper understanding on the topic and the serious nature. One can see how this is an issue that social psychologist must work towards healing in the society in hopes to see change in the world and how people treat one another.


Maddox, PhD, K. B. (2006, April). Rethinking Racial Stereotyping, Prejudice, and
Discrimination. Psychological Science Agenda, (), . Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2006/04/maddox.aspx
Chamberlin, J. (2004, October). What's behind prejudice?. Monitor on Psychology, 35(9), 34.
Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct04/prejudice.aspx
Law, B., & Murray, . (2011, October). Retraining the biased brain. American Psychological
Association Monitor on Psychology, 42(9), 42. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/10/biased-brain.aspx

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