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Prejudice and Discrimination

Free essay example:


and Discrimination


Question One


Prejudice is defined as ‘thinking badly about other people without sufficient reasons’. The word ‘prejudice’ means to prejudge. This means that we judge before we know someone or before we even meet them.


Discrimination occurs when people are treated badly by others because off prejudice. Discrimination is not always a bad thing however. It can also be a ‘careful judgement’. For example if you are going to buy a new TV, it is a good idea to be discriminating, to look carefully, to choose something that you really like, rather than just the first thing you see.

Discrimination becomes unfair when it causes us to make a big deal out of differences between people so that it affects their housing, employment, education, lives - their human rights.

The Difference

The difference between these is that prejudice is that the judgement you make and discrimination is the action itself that follows this judgement.

Discrimination = Prejudice + Power.

Prejudice is the perception and discrimination is therefore perception followed by action.  Only the perception alone does not do any physical damage or hurt to the one being prejudiced against however the one discriminated against receives a physical treatment as well as treatment on the psychological sense when it is just a sense of prejudice.  

Question Two

An incident of discrimination involving colour:

Zaina Ukwaju, was one of the only two black people working at an immigration centre.

They were both unfairly dismissed, victimised and racially discriminated against. Ms Ukwaju, who was born in Tanzania but lives in London, was selected for redundancy when the Home Office announced plans to close the immigration centre in May 2006. But despite the proposals being put on hold, Ms Ukwaju and her colleague lost their jobs five months later.

It was alleged by Ms Ukwaja and Mr Obikwu that the council's operations manager Anne-Marie Leech was "consciously biased" when selecting members of staff to be made redundant. They pointed to the fact that no one who had attended a party at Ms Leech's home was made redundant as evidence.

There is a very strong sense of prejudice in this case. Ms Ukwaju was treated appallingly because she was of a difference colour to the manager. She was biased in her decision choosing the members of staff to be made redundant. They were not treated fairly or equally because they were black and therefore not considered as important or as equal to the rest of the workforce.

An incident of discrimination involving minority-homosexuals

A gay  Heathrow security guard had his life made a misery by a woman colleague who pestered him for sex, an employment tribunal was told yesterday.

Allwyn Rondeau, 46, repeatedly told 42-year-old Lucy Chilton he was homosexual and not interested but she persisted, the panel heard.

He concealed his frustration because he did not want to highlight his gay lifestyle.

However, when she reported him for inappropriate sexual behaviour – a claim rejected after an investigation – he complained.

Mr Rondeau is suing his employers G4S Security Services – formerly Group 4 – and co- employees Lucy Chilton, Mark Palmer, Sonny Bhamber and Brian Johnson for discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

Mr Rondeau, who lives in Feltham, Middlesex, with his gay partner of 15 years, told the tribunal that he and Ms Chilton were on duty in a jet when she "stuck her bum in the air saying 'come on give it to me.'"

In other alleged incidents she “wobbled her breasts” against him, used the words “batty boy” and mocked him. The tribunal initially made an order banning identification of the parties but yesterday the judge decided everyone
should be named.

“Throughout I chose not to complain formally as I didn’t want to rock the boat,” he said.

The panel heard the toll of the investigation meant he had not returned for work since and suffered anxiety and depression.

There is an obvious element of discrimination in this case as well as prejudice. He was taunted because of his sexual orientation and this is made clear by the fact that she acknowledged the fact he was gay by using derogatory terms to suggest this and she still continued to harass him to such an extent he was unable to attend work as he was so depressed.

An incident of discrimination involving religion:

A Muslim woman who returned to her job wearing a headscarf after a pilgrimage to Mecca was sacked after her foreman claimed it was a safety hazard.

Robotics technician Farida Khanum, 21, was bullied by other workers at a Luton car plant, one of whom mockingly put a cloth over his head and referred to her as "Yasser Arafat".

A manager at IBC Vehicles, a subsidiary of General Motors, told her: "I can't have you walking around like that on my shop floor." Another worker asked: "Is that a new hard hat you're wearing then?"

Yesterday, an industrial tribunal in Bedford ruled that Ms Khanum had been unfairly dismissed and said there had been "a culture of discrimination" at IBC. The tribunal rejected IBC's claim that Miss Khanum had defrauded the company by taking uncertified time off to attend an open morning at the University of Hertfordshire.


t accepted her assertion that her dismissal stemmed from her decision to wear the hijab, a head-covering, in line with Islamic modesty requirements. Ms Khanum, whose parents are Bangladeshi, decided to wear the hijab after arriving home from the umra, or lesser pilgrimage, in September 1996. She was sacked three months later.

She was never given the option of a possible compromise, such as wearing some form of hairnet.

Ms Khanum had begun working for IBC, which makes parts for the Vauxhall Frontera, on leaving school in 1993. She achieved the highest exam grades among the IBC apprentices in 1995.

This woman was discriminated against because of her religion - Islam, in her workplace. She was mocked at and she was derided because she wore a headscarf - in compliance with her religion. She was not even allowed the possibility of replacing it with something more suitable to their demands such as a hairnet. Despite her being one of the most able workers there, she was sacked, because she was a Muslim.

An incident of discrimination involving disability:

Like many autistic children, 8-year-old Magi Klages finds new situations to be stressful. So her parents weren't surprised when she began acting out by biting herself and running around at her first gathering with her new Girl Scout troop in Wisconsin earlier this month. But despite the fact that the troop she joined was specifically created for children with special needs, the troop leader decided that Magi was a "danger" to the other children and promptly kicked her out of the troop.

"To feel like someone doesn't want your child around, it rips your heart out," said Magi's mother, Michele Klages. "I never expected my child to be discriminated against. Never in a million years."

Even a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts admits kicking Magi out goes against everything the organization stands for. "We are very inclusive and have a national policy against all forms of discrimination," said Michelle Thompkins.

Magi was discriminated against because she was autistic and therefore seen as a ‘danger’, however the group itself was for children like Magi, with special needs, however she was kicked out because she was autistic. She was the only to be kicked out because of this and was clearly discriminated against because of her disability.

An incident of discrimination involving race:

Police are investigating a racial attack - in which remarks were made about the atrocities in the US - which left an Afghan minicab driver paralysed.

The victim, who now lives in Acton, west London, had picked up three men and a woman in the area before dropping them off in Twickenham on Sunday.

Police officers found the 28-year-old man shortly after 3am outside the Prince Blucher pub on The Green, Twickenham.

He was taken with serious injuries by ambulance to West Middlesex Hospital, where his condition deteriorated.

The victim was transferred to Charing Cross Hospital where he is currently stable in the high dependency unit.

He is paralysed from the neck down.

The taxi driver suffered from discrimination because he was Afghan and the assailants were racist and already had judged him on his race. They then went on to physically assault him, without knowing who he was or what he was like. They left him with very serious injuries and they did all of this just because they had a preconception of him as he was of Afghan descent. This was forming a preconception on him based on his race.

Question Three


Scapegoat - Someone who is punished for other people’s mistakes.

‘When I do something wrong my little sister is my scapegoat.’

Segregation - When something or someone has been separated or isolated from another and placed in a group apart from others.

‘The segregation of the black Americans was one of the worst and most wide spread cases of racial injustice.’

Stereotype - It is a generalized perception of first impressions of certain types of people or things.

‘All blonde people are dumb is a common fallacious stereotype.’

Apartheid - It was a system of strict racial apartheid originating in South Africa to isolate the blacks from the whites.

‘South Africa practised apartheid for many years.’

Victimize - to be made a victim of.

‘Saifa was bullied and victimised because she was a Muslim.’

Ostracise - to be banished or expelled from a community or group.

‘Adam was afraid that the other children at school would ostracise him if he wore his Kippah to school.’

Question Four

The first quotation explains that if you can’t love your neighbours and those around you then you can’t love God. There are different interpretations for this and one could be that many believe that there is a part of God in all of us - God resides in all his children, therefore if you hate your neighbour you are also hating the part of God residing in the person. Also God loves all his children as equals and just as a parent would not be happy if one of their children did not like his brother, God, in the same sense is not happy when we do not love everyone equally as in his eyes we are all brothers and sisters too.

The second quotation explains that we should treat every living thing in the world as we ourselves would like to be treated. This is a saying from the Jain religion and Jains are generally vegetarian by nature. They believe it is wrong to treat other living creatures inferior to ourselves. We should treat them as we would like to be treated and we should not assume that they are lower to us just because they belong to a different species. We do not go around killing our fellow humans to eat so therefore we should not do this to animals either. We do not want to be chased and killed for food and therefore we should not do it to other creatures. Similarly we want to be treated with respect and for that reason we should treat all living creatures with respect.

The third quotation holds similar values to both the quotations above. We must treat others as our equals, as our brothers, as our sisters.  We should treat them as we want others to treat us. This is what would please God and it is what would please everyone else. What goes around comes around and if we regard everyone as our equal then we too shall be repaid in that manner.  

Question Five

(a) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2nd 1869 in India. He is commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi and in India also as ‘Bapu‘. He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Non-Violence. He was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. He achieved independence using ahimsa - firm and direct way of protesting without harming anyone - in a peaceful manner. He worked as a lawyer in South Africa fighting for civil rights for Indians and Blacks alike. He moved back to India in 1915 where he fought for the rights of the peasants, labourers and the ‘untouchables’ working to abolish the discrimination faced as a result of the caste system. Gandhi was a practitioner of non-violence and truth, and believed that others should do the same. He lived humbly in an autonomous residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl. He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as means of both self-purification and social protest.

(b) Gandhi was on a train sitting peacefully in the 1st class section when someone complained that he was sitting there because he was Indian. Gandhi was told to move and when he refused was thrown off the train. As a result Gandhi decided he wanted to do something to help over come prejudice. He fought for Black peoples rights during his time in South Africa as well as Indians. He fought for the independence of India from the British and he also fought for the rights of what were known as the ‘Untouchables’. They were later given the name ‘Harijans’. Gandhi worked for them to be brought back into the Hindu society. Mahatma Gandhi, aged 78, was on the way to a prayer meeting, when he was shot three times in the chest and died on January 30, 1948.

( c) (I) Gandhi would probably praise the fact that students and teachers alike all belong of different races, religions and backgrounds and yet this is not taken into account and everyone works together in harmony and there is no prejudice faced by anyone because of their background. Also violence is not used to make a point, issues are talked through and dealt with peacefully. Everyone is treated as an equal regardless of age, race, colour, gender or religion.

(ii) Suggestions that could be made are perhaps not shouting when one is angry with another, instead using a normal voice and explaining rather than ordering. The idea of having groups depending on your test marks could be changed as this could be seen as separating the less able at a subject from those who are not. However overall I don’t think that there would be many suggestions in terms of discrimination, as the members of the school do not use their sense of discrimination in a negative manner.

Question Six

This story deals with the life of an Indian family, the Patels, which have to move out of Uganda, because the president of Uganda, President Amin, has announced that all foreigners have to get out of the country, or they will get killed.

They move to Britain where they can give their four daughters a good education. But the family which had been rich and respected in Uganda were threatened like they were before, in England because they couldn’t speak English well, except Sumitra which had learnt it at school in Uganda. Therefore they only got menial jobs and they became a poor family. This resulted in housing problems, and they had to get help from the Housing Department. First they lived at Antonio’s Guest House, where there were many strict rules to follow and it was a very noisy place. At the guest house they met many mean and racist people , but also some nice people to. One of the nicest was Maria, who became a good friend of the family.

After a long time and after many phone calls to the Housing Department, they finally got re-housed to their own house. Here could ‘Bap‘, the father, be ‘the boss’ again.

When Sumitra was staying at the guest house she got a job of a friend at Saturdays. But she was eating her lunches in a pub with her white friends, which was unacceptable for an Indian girl. Jayant, her uncle, watched her going into the pub once, and this got her into a lot of trouble.

Sumitra had only two choices; either to stick with her family and their Hindu values with a life like a prisoner, or to run away from home to the English life and freedom. It was not easy for Sumitra to choose because she wanted the best from both the English and the Indian culture.

The main theme in this book is discrimination as Sumitra and her family are discriminated against because of their nationality and race at a number of different occasions, an example being when Sumitra goes to the job agency and the employer could not possibly have a ‘black’ person working for him and the clerk has no shame about calling Sumitra a Pakistani without knowing anything about her background.

Question Seven

Discrimination comes in many forms, but whatever form it does take can damage your self-esteem and have a negative impact on your self -confidence.  

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