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Prejudices And Discrimination
Dealing With Prejudice and Discrimination in Society
A prejudice is a belief about a group of people based on their religion, ethnicity, race, gender, handicap or any other factors. It can be positive or negative, but as a prejudice involves passing judgment on a large group of people regardless of their individual qualities, it’s considered to be unfair. Prejudice which causes unfair treatment is called discrimination, and in many cases discrimination can be illegal. Prejudices and discrimination can result in serious problems for both the people that hold them and the people that they’re prejudiced against, especially for co-workers, schoolmates, and anyone forced to deal with prejudice in a social situation. Prejudice can lead to:
- Job loss
- Litigation due to Civil Rights laws
- Unfair business practices
- Societal isolation
- A poor reputation for the prejudiced person
There has been a great deal of psychological research on the subject of prejudices to try to understand what causes them and how they can be removed. Psychiatric professionals are interested in the mechanism behind discrimination and the ways that society and other factors can create prejudices in individuals. It can be a fascinating field and a somewhat taboo subject for certain people.
When you’re dealing with discrimination, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you understand prejudice and find help in handling it.
Reasons for Discrimination and Prejudice
Most people who discriminate against a group do so because of upbringing or societal reasons. However, some prejudices are due to a bad experience with a certain person or a traumatic life event that caused an individual to stereotype an entire group. Many prejudices develop from fears or a misunderstanding of a certain culture or race.
It’s best to discover the reason for prejudice before trying to remove it, and a licensed therapist or counselor can be a great resource for finding out why a prejudiced person discriminates.
Treating Prejudice and Discrimination with Counseling
In some cases, prejudices can be removed with counseling, and the people who hold prejudices can be taught skills that allow them to overcome their discriminatory way of thinking. You may have heard of “sensitivity training,” which is often used in situations of outward racism or discrimination in the workplace. Sensitivity training teaches individuals to understand how their discrimination affects other people and can give a person the necessary tools to avoid future discriminatory practices.
Many offices and government institutions also use other types of group therapy sessions to deal with sexism, racism, and other issues in the workplace and to avoid the conflicts that prejudice and discrimination can cause. These therapy sessions include activities for office workers and an open, comfortable atmosphere, which can be essential when approaching a taboo subject such as discrimination.
Prejudice can also be treated one on one with a licensed therapist or counselor. The therapist will speak with the patient to try to work through feelings and fears. In some cases, prejudices are tied to other fears or conditions that need treatment and a therapist can provide this for their patients.
If you feel that a member of your work place is prejudiced, you should tell your employer immediately in order to stop the discriminatory practices from continuing. If you or a family member is prejudiced, treating this can seem more complicated, but finding and discussing the problem with a licensed therapist is a great first step. Prejudice can be hard to discuss and even harder to treat in some situations, but with the right therapy and counseling, it’s a problem that can certainly be addressed.