FROM PREJUDICE TO DISCRIMINATION A prejudice is an unjustified negative attitude toward a group, a category of people, or a cultural practice. Prejudice against a group carries a strong emotional discomfort with, dislike of, or outright hatred of its members. Often it is based on a negative stereotype that resists rational argument. Some prejudices come from experience, such as unpleasant or baffling encounter with someone from another ethnic group. Many prejudices are passed along from parents to children, in messages that say “We don’t associate with people like that,” sometimes without either generation having ever met the object of their dislike. Some come from the images that the media convey, for instance, of men and women, blacks and whites, young and old. Once people have formed attitudes in general, and prejudices in particular, they are reluctant to change their minds for several reasons: 1) The cognitive payoff, 2) The social payoff, 3) The economic payoff, 4) The psychological payoff. People cling to some attitudes like life preservers but they are persuaded to give up others. The more payoffs there off for maintaining an attitude, the more resistant it will be to change. The different casual connections between attitudes and behavior can be seen clearly in the case of prejudice. In some cases, the attitude (prejudice) leads to behavior (discrimination). Discrimination may be subtle, as when a person refuses to associate with targets of the prejudice. It may be accepted social practice, as when members of one group refuse to hire or promote people who are different from them. In extreme cases, it can take the form of efforts to control or exterminat Frasier 2 members of the group. In the United States, prejudice has led to the lynching of blacks, bombing of synagogues, the massacre of Native Americans, the illegal imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the harassment of homosexuals, and other violent acts against minority groups. But sometimes people who have prejudiced attitudes are prevented from discriminating because of the law, or social convention, or other interests. Even people with no prejudices may nevertheless discriminate in their behavior. Custom, role requirements, or even the law causes them to treat people in ways they would prefer not to. DIFFERENT FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION Throughout United States history many other groups have suffered racial and religious discrimination. Since Europeans first came to America, Native Americans have been forcibly deprived of their lands and denied civil rights. Congress enacts the Indian Civil Rights Act in 1968, and the Federal courts have entertained a number of suits designed to restore to Native American Tribes ancestral lands and hunting and fishing rights. Discrimination has taken many different forms. For many years Urban voters were denied equal representation in Congress and State Legislatures; the elderly have been faced with discrimination in employment and housing, despite federal and state laws designed to prevent such practices. Former prisoners and mental patients have suffered from legal disabilities after their terms of confinement ended. And some aliens have been denied equal employment opportunities. People with Physical disabilities have ensures discrimination in employment and access to Frasier 3 public facilities and transportation. The Americans with Disabilities act of 1990 addressed these problems on the national lever. Discrimination against Homosexual’s A widespread form of discrimination exists against homosexuals, who historically endured prejudice because of social and sexual taboos. Few state or local laws exists to protect rights of lesbians and gay men against discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not protect private homosexual relations among consenting adults. This decision led to aggressive action by the gay community to counteract prejudice and to lobby for legal protections. In response, conservative groups in some states sought to ban local anti-discrimination laws that protected gay people. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the states could not deny basic civil rights protections to homosexuals. Discrimination against Foreigners and Minorities Most nations practice discrimination against foreigners and disfavored minorities within their borders. It may be religious, such as Protestants against Roman Catholics or Muslims against Jews or Muslims against Jews. Racial as in the apartheid policy that was enforced in South Africa from 1948 t0 1992; or sexual discrimination, as the laws of each country should be the means of combating discrimination but