Definition time: prejudice, bigotry, bias, discrimination, and racism

The Steel Soapbox Definition time: prejudice, bigotry, bias, discrimination, and racism

Seems many people have no idea what these words mean and often you see these words used incorrectly by interchanging them regardless of the fact that each meaning and intent used is far different.

We need as a society to understand what each of these words are, how to use them correctly, and the affect they can cause on a society.

… so let us have a crash course… prejudice, bigotry, bias, discrimination, and racism

Prejudice as defined by Dictionary.com
1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. 2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable. 3. unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group.

In other words prejudice is a negative judgement you make towards another person or group based on no prior connection, “without knowledge” is the key phrase here.

So that means you may have never been hurt by a swan but you think swans are bad because you heard it so. You have no connection to the swan.

Bias as defined by Dictionary.com
1. a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned: illegal bias against older job applicants; the magazine’s bias toward art rather than photography 2. unreasonably hostile feelings or opinions about a social group; prejudice: accusations of racial bias.

As one can once again see the word unreasonable used in the definition. In other words there is no logical reason for the bias.

That swan you never met, you feel would be a bad swan because they swim, not logical or reasonable but an opinion never the less.

Bigotry as defined by Dictionary.com
1.stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own. 2.the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a bigot.

Now we see the word intolerance used. This is a stronger word than bias or prejudice.

You think all swans should be banned from the area because they are not like your breed which is a duck.

Discrimination as defined by Dictionary.com
1. an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction. 2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

In this case we do not see a negative concept but rather an action used to determine difference between two or more elements.

So back to the dick, who discriminates against swan by pointing out their long necks and lack of feather patterns. The duck actively uses elements to support the discrimination.

Racism as defined by Dictionary.com
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others. 2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination. 3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

As you can see racism is a doctrine of hate towards another based on the idea that your group is superior and therefore has the right to control all those not of their group.

Back to the swan and duck. The duck feels superior to the swan, because of being a duck. Therefore the duck feels the right to dominate the swan and if need be eliminate the swan since the swan does not have the same equality. But what of the ducks over in the other side of the pond, they are equal right. Those ducks are different and not equal as well… even being a duck does not guarantee safety

I hope this helps in knowing what word is what and the intensity of that word. To disagree does not make one a racist or bigot…

Instead being a racist or bigot etc, well that is shown in your words, acts, and deeds demonstrating the intent and goals as set out in the above definitions: intolerance of others and superiority of yourself/group

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About jasterling

One part of my life is in the science of anthropology and archaeology where I did comparative work. My other life that I am now pursuing is writing along the lines of fantasy/sci fi fictional writing as my one way to stay sane in this other insane world. Please enjoy the selections you will find in my blog.
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