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Describe the meaning of Prejudice and Characteristics of Prejudice


Describe the meaning of Prejudice and its characteristics


What is Prejudice?


The word prejudice is derived from the Latin word 'Prejudicium'. It refers to 'prejudgment' i.e. forming an opinion or assumption about a group or individual on the basis of their class or ethnic membership without due consideration of the facts. Different scholars have defined it like this- 

Definitions of Prejudice 


According to Baron and Byrne (2004), “Prejudice is a negative attitude toward members of another group.”

According to Allport (1954), “It is a type of antipathy based on faulty and exclusive generalizations. It can be felt or expressed. It is directed towards a whole group or an individual because he is a member of that group.

According to Sheriff and Sheriff (1969), “Prejudice is the negative attitude formed by the members of a group towards another and members arising from their standards.”

Characteristics of Prejudice


Characteristics of prejudice Based on the definitions and facts of prejudice, we can reveal its characteristics as follows-

(1) Prejudice is irrational – 

Prejudice is irrational, irrational and inconsistent. Many times, even after keeping the correct facts and information in front of the person, he remains on his prejudice.

(2) Prejudice is acquired- 

Prejudice is not born but it is acquired by living in this society. He develops prejudices by adopting what he hears about individuals at home through parents, siblings, other members, other groups, near neighbours, schools, friends etc. 


For example - it is said that people of certain caste are brave, hardworking or lazy, the same image gets imprinted in the mind of the children and they acquire them.

(3) Prejudice has an emotional tone—

Prejudice has an emotional tone. That person is either favorable or unfavorable towards a group, religion, caste. If it is favorable then it shows affection and love towards the people of other group, religion and caste. If his prejudice is unfavorable, then it shows the emotional forms of hatred, malice etc. 

For example, white caste people of America have negative prejudice towards Negroes and upper class people of India have emotional prejudice towards lower caste people.


(4) Prejudice does not operate on a particular person but on the whole group – 

The target of prejudice is not a particular person but the whole community. 

For example, a person of white race in America hates a Negro because he belongs to the Negro society, similarly a person of upper class hates and hates a Dalit because he belongs to Dalit society. Adverse prejudice despite superiority. gets created.

(5) The nature of prejudice is functional – 

The nature of prejudice is functional because it benefits the person. Like-prejudice gives satisfaction in justifying hatred and malice and repressed desires are also satisfied.


(6) Prejudice is not related to reality- 

Prejudice is not related to reality. It is based on hearsay and old customs. Years have passed since India became independent, but due to prejudice, we still do untouchability and discrimination with the lower class. If they are asked whether there is any difference between their skin and blood? They will answer that this is our tradition, our forefathers have also been doing this.

(7) Prejudice is non-existent – ​​

Prejudice is based on decisions that do not exist. This prejudice is developed by a person in childhood itself.


(8) Prejudice is created by historical studies – 

In fact, when we read about any other group in historical books, we make similar preconceptions about them. This is the reason why the history written during the British period was able to widen the distance between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus consider Maharana Pratap, Shivaji as their ideal, whereas Muslims consider Akbar and Aurangzeb as their idols. History books help in building up prejudice.