Prejudices is a practice where one group holds irrational attitudes and opinions about another while discrimination, on the other hand, is described as behaviors directed by one group against another (Parillo, 2011). Prejudice is having preconceived beliefs about a person, group, or cultural practices, and they can either be positive or negative beliefs. It is the negative prejudice however, that can lead to discrimination. Discrimination, in most instances, occurs when a particular group feels threatened by another; hence they respond in discrimination to protect their interests and opportunities.
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In the United States, for instance, the whites discriminate the black people to shield them from political positions, access to employment and health services, and other opportunities that are freely and easily accessible to the whites (Parillo, 2011). This essay gives a perfect scenario that clearly shows prejudice and discrimination.
Women today are the major victims of prejudice and discrimination all over the world in all aspects of life. Discrimination among the female gender is rampant in religious, cultural, and even social settings (Luft, 1969). However, in the Muslim world, the situation is a bit more complicated and more intense. A female classmate who is a Muslim was once a victim of discrimination.
Two years ago, her father forced her out of their home to insist that she wanted to go for a degree course. In her country, women do not pursue academic knowledge freely since their role in the family set up is to take care of the family and the homestead. Her father declined to see her through college and vowed to disown her if she disobeyed him on this matter.
She applied for an international scholarship and got approval to join the university as a fully sponsored student. This was quite a sign of good luck, according to her, and she was excited that she was going to achieve her dreams after all. She did not know what was awaiting her here in the United States. It all started in the customs department.
As she narrates it, while every other passenger was passing through the checkpoint once and fast, she had to wait while the guards checked her bags several times before she could leave. Her passports and ID were confiscated and taken for identification, which took about two to three hours.
After verifying her documents, the guard approached her and apologized for the delay saying it was a necessary random check-up for security purposes. Puzzled by the guard’s claims considering all the other passengers had been allowed to get through without a similar random security check, she sort to know why.
When she asked the guard why she was the only one whose bags took time to check, she was told that there were standard procedures applied to immigrants from the Islamic world. Feeling embarrassed and frustrated, she left the airport and went directly to her uncle’s place where she was supposed to stay while studying here in America.
At the airport, what prompted the guard to frisk her was the fact that she had her religious costumes on. Every time Americans see a person with an Arab look, the first thing that comes into their minds is terror. Muslims have been a symbol of terrorist activities in the United States and one risk arrest if he or she does not carry with him or her the necessary documents.
Normally, an American can walk freely in the country without identification, and no one will question them. However, for Muslims, even those who are citizens by birth have to carry their identification cards to avoid harassment and false accusations. The Muslim community here in America is a victim of prejudice and discrimination, and the situation is getting even worse with the numerous terrorist attacks all over the world.
The Islamic culture in the United States is held with a lot of skepticism, which affects normal interaction between Muslims and Non-Muslims in America. Members of the Arab communities experience hostility in public service utilities leave alone the suspicious look they get every time they are in public places like bus stops and rail stations.
The window technique helps people understand how to relate with others and with self. This helps people see themselves in a different dimension and consider how others see them. To avoid discrimination and prejudice with reference to the above case, the airport should ensure that all passengers are equally treated. For instance, if all the passengers were checked as just as the guard did with the above-mentioned person, then she would not have been offended.
Different treatments based on cultural and religious assumptions can provoke the wrong perception and can lead to unfair treatment (Bucher, 2010). Everybody should be given equal opportunity regardless of their beliefs or cultural affiliations. Especially with regard to the Muslim community, while most terrorists are of Muslim origin, it is wrong to hold the opinion that all Muslims are terrorists. This can be a grossly misguided notion.
Bucher, R., D. (2010). Diversity Consciousness: Opening our minds to people, cultures, and opportunities. (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Prentice Hall
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Luft, Joseph (1969). Of Human Interaction. Palo Alto, CA: National Press
Parillo, V. (2011). Strangers to these shores: Race and ethnic relations in the United States (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.