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Prejudice and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, power, social class, and prestige

Video transcript

normally when we talk about prejudice and discrimination we are often talking about it in reference to different racial groups or different ethnic groups and biracial group I mean a group that's been set apart because of some kind of physical characteristics that have taken on social significance and I think that this last part is really key because as a society we really do behave as though some physical characteristics have more meaning than other physical characteristics for example skin color we make a lot of judgments about people we have a lot of stereotypes based on the color of people's skin but the same is not true of eye color and remember that both of these things both eye color and skin color are both genetically driven but we've attached a kind of meaning to skin color that we haven't attached to eye color when we talk about ethnic groups we mean groups that are set apart because of national origin or distinctive cultural patterns so this would include Puerto Rican Irish and japanese-americans but this also includes groups like the Jews who are defined more by cultural traditions and practices the nation of origin but while prejudice can be based on race and ethnicity it can also be based on other factors like power social class or prestige by power we mean economic and political power or even the power to control your own life groups with a lot of political power can get their candidates in office and those candidates can then protect their interests the same cannot be said of minority groups these groups don't have as many members as majority groups and therefore can always swing the vote in their favor at the same time unfair hiring policies may lead to only low-wage jobs being available for minority groups laws might also limit where people can live or eat or go to school and all these things can limit the sense of control that people have over their own lives and then that's actually not not a very good house hold on I'm going to take a moment to redraw that when we talk about social class there's always one important point to consider and that's that status is relative in order for people to be of a higher status by definition there needs to be people of a lower status beneath them and this unequal status in society can often set the stage for prejudice one of the ways that this can happen is that the people on the top are often motivate to try to justify and maintain the differences between themselves in the lower class and this is related to what psychologists refer to as the just world phenomenon which is an assumption that people make that the world is just and that therefore people often get what they deserve which means that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people so people have a high social class might try to justify their own position in society by saying that people who are poor must be lazy that if they just worked harder they might be successful too so it's pretty easy to see how this phenomenon might result not only in prejudice but also in discrimination for example this belief might result in someone voting against welfare programs that might aid the poor but what about prestige well prestige is often based on occupation and as it turns out high prestige jobs like being a doctor or a lawyer often go to dominant group members while lower prestige jobs like sanitation workers in the service industry are more likely to go to minority group members