What are the effects of prejudice and discrimination?

Prejudice makes the victim feel less than fully human. When people are undervalued by others, their self-esteem suffers and they stop trying to improve themselves.

Prejudice can often lead to bullying and other forms of discrimination.

These create an atmosphere of fear for what might happen at any moment and fear for what the future might hold. In extreme cases this can lead a person to take their own life.

At its worst extremes, prejudice can lead to genocide, as demonstrated during World War Two, with the extermination of 6 million Jewish people. This is an example of what can happen when prejudice is allowed to develop unchallenged in society.

The consequences of prejudice and discrimination can lead to individuals and entire communities feeling vulnerable, frightened and worthless. At worst, the result can be death.

Positive discrimination

Not all discrimination is a bad thing. In the last 30 years, laws have been passed to create better access to buildings for people with disabilities.

Some companies have set minimum quotas for the number of women in positions of authority. These types of actions are aimed at showing that people who have suffered prejudice in the past are fully able to fulfil a major role in society given the chance.

One example of positive discrimination is the UK police force recruitment of homosexual officers. The reason for this has been to ensure that homosexuals are not under-represented in the force. However, this could lead to heterosexual potential recruits feeling overlooked and to homosexual recruits feeling they have not been selected on their merits.