What is prejudice?

Prejudice comes from the words ‘to judge before’. It is forming an unfavourable opinion or feeling about a person or a group of people, without a full examination of the situation. In theory, it is possible for somebody to be prejudiced without anybody else knowing about it.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is making a distinction against a person or thing based on the group, class or category they belong to, rather than basing any action on individual merit.

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A simple distinction between prejudice and discrimination is that prejudice is to do with attitude, discrimination is to do with action.

Forms of discrimination include:

  • verbal slurs
  • failure to provide reasonable accommodation or access
  • media portrayal
  • preferential pay
  • hiring or admissions policies
  • hate crimes

Discrimination can be committed by individuals, groups or institutions.

Positive discrimination is where a particular group is given special privileges to compensate for a perceived disadvantage. For example, disabled people can often access parking spaces closest to a building’s entrance.