Prejudice and Racism

Racism and prejudice are key concepts of deep sociological significance to religion. Prejudice refers to an ‘unfair interpersonal reaction to a person or persons of a different identity’, whether associated with gender, physical appearance, cultural background, or some other axes of identity. In lay terms, it means prejudging another person based on what one has heard or learned about people with that identity or background. This is usually referred to as a ‘stereotype’—a generalisation or assumption that could be positive or negative and that leads a person to make a decision about how to treat another person. In terms of religion, this might mean that others are feared because of the stereotypes held about their faith group.

For example, in Western countries in contemporary times, many ...

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