A prejudice it is an unconscious mental assessment regarding a specific object, human group or situation, which comes not from direct contact or experience, but from a prior consideration that often distorts the perception of prejudice. For example: racial biases, gender biases, religious biases.
In other words, it is a anticipated judgment, usually hostile or negative in nature, based on unfounded and affective preconceptions rather than direct experiences.
Such prejudices are often entrenched in the dominant culture of a society, reinforcing paradigms of exclusion and superficiality around minority groups or the individuals belonging to them. When this happens, dynamics of social unrest and confrontation can occur, in the event that prejudice gains ground and becomes an exclusionary social, political and / or cultural practice.
Examples of prejudice
- Origin prejudices. They consist of privileging one human group over others, or rejecting one a priori, simply for sharing their place of origin or nationality, or for rejecting the nationality of said person. For example, in Latin America some nationalities are disadvantaged, such as the Colombian, associated with drug trafficking and hit men.
- Racial prejudice. They base their appreciation of communities or individuals on their phenotypic traits or their skin color, attributing certain mental, physical or cultural characteristics to them. For example, it is often claimed that people of African descent are good at physical activities but not mental ones, or that black men have large penises.
- Gender biases. They propose evaluations of individuals or groups according to their biological gender, male or female. Many social roles are determined based on this prejudicial nature. For example, that women do not know how to drive a car, or that they are more emotional and less rational, or that men are basic in their emotionality and should never cry.
- Sexual biases. Similar to those of gender, they are based on sexual orientation and traditional sexual roles, to validate or reject a priori some group or behavior. For example, it is often claimed that homosexuals are promiscuous or more prone to illness, addiction, or criminal behavior than heterosexuals.
- Class prejudices. They attribute to the individuals of the different social classes some specific ethical, moral or behavioral characteristics, often drifting towards classism. For example, affirming that the poor are more prone to crime just because they are.
- Political prejudices. They base their appreciation of a person or a community on their adherence to a particular political sector or their social ideals. For example, believing that because you are a communist you are lazy or do not want to work, or that you are violent and dangerous.
- Appearance biases. They often express rejection by an individual whose appearance derives from accepted canons, attributing behavior, preferences or defects. For example, it is often said that blonde women are stupid or that fat women are nice.
- Age biases. Characteristics are usually attributed to individuals based on their age, ignoring that psychic and social development varies according to factors other than chronological growth. For example, the commonplace that the elderly are harmless and kind, or dispassionate and innocent.
- Ethnic prejudices. Similar to the racial ones, but they judge a certain human group based on cultural, gastronomic and musical customs. For example, Asians are said to eat cats and dogs, while the French are good cooks.
- Professional biases. They attribute to an individual or to their professional community some specific condition, often linked to an appreciation of another nature, be it sexual, moral or gender. For example, that secretaries always sleep with their bosses, or that architects are usually homosexual, or cold and unscrupulous thieving lawyers.
- Religious prejudices. Close to ethnic groups, they reject or approve a priori those who profess some kind of religious or mysticism. For example, Protestants are accused of puritanism, Catholics of hypocrisy, and Buddhists of imperturbability.
- Educational biases. They base their discretion on an individual’s level of formal education. For example, that going to college guarantees intelligence and honesty, or that educated people are boring and frigid.
- Linguistic biases. They attend to the specific way of speaking of an individual or a human group: the neologisms used, the intonation, etc. For example, in certain places, traditional Spanish is favored over Latin American, or some local dialect variant is preferred over another.
- Prejudice with animals. Often there is also a prejudiced attitude towards groups of animals or the people who interact with them or who prefer them. For example, it is said that dog owners are one way and cat owners another, single women prefer cats, etc.
- Prejudices of another nature. There are specific prejudices of another nature, linked to urban tribes, aesthetic tastes, personal preferences or consumer behaviors that, although they do not fully fall into any of the previous categories, are also mobilizers of the social imaginary. For example, it is often thought that tattooed people are more prone to vice.