Components of Prejudice
Prejudice can be defined as a preconceived judgment of an individual based on the social group they belong to. This could be in terms of their race, class, gender, ability, and many more. In most cases, it is against individuals who belong to an unfamiliar social group. It involves attitudes that facilitate discrimination. Prejudice often stems from the stereotypes people have about certain social groups. Stereotypes are assumptions made regarding a particular social group regardless of the members’ differences. Stereotypes can be categorized into racial profiling, gender profiling, culture, social groups, and sexual stereotypes. A good example of a stereotype is all terrorists are Arabs or Muslims and as a result, people who belong to the two social groups are judged harshly based on assumptions. Another example is women are not as smart as men which is not true.
Prejudice is made up of all three components of an attitude namely affective, cognitive, and behavioral.
The affective component revolves around how certain objects, individuals, or tendencies make you feel. For example, I am scared of snakes even the harmless one.
The behavioral component is all about how our attitude towards something influences how we act. For example, in the case of the snake, if I see one, not in an enclosed place, my first instinct is to run away.
Finally, the cognitive component involves an individual’s belief or knowledge about the subject in question. For example, I know most snakes are dangerous and poisonous.
Bond, M.H. (2004). Culture Aggression from Context to Coercion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(1), 62-78. DOI: 10.1207/s15327957pspr0801_3
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