Differences between Prejudice vs Discrimination

Last Updated on December 1, 2021 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Prejudice is an unjustified negative attitude towards members of a particular group, while discrimination refers to behaviors that are often discriminatory. Prejudice can be seen as the ‘preparation’ stage before discrimination; it’s an act or series of acts based on prejudice, and it includes stereotyping, making assumptions about someone’s abilities, intentions or character without adequate information. Discrimination is more like the ‘execution’ phase after prejudice; it includes unfair treatment against people because they belong to certain groups. 

Prejudice can be seen as the first step in a chain reaction that leads to discrimination-it starts with prejudicial thoughts and feelings which lead to hostile actions such as name-calling and bullying. And finally, these hostile actions may lead to discrimination in the form of unfair treatment, such as denying someone a job. 

Discrimination and prejudice are two very different terms, but they often get confused because they overlap in some ways. People who discriminate against others do so for a variety of reasons, such as race or ethnicity, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation. Discrimination can also be based on disability status or socioeconomic class. Prejudice is the term used to describe feelings about people that aren’t necessarily related to any of those identifiers – it’s more like an overall opinion one might have about someone before ever meeting them. The important thing to remember is that discrimination can cause harm and lead to unfair treatment while not all prejudices will result in the same outcome.

Comparison between Prejudice and Discrimination

Parameters of Comparison  PrejudiceDiscrimination
RacePrejudice can be based on race, religion, or sexual orientation  Discrimination can be unintentional as well as intentional  
NegativePrejudice usually has negative connotations while discrimination doesn’t always have to be negative.  Discrimination often occurs in the work place and it’s illegal.   
TypeHas many typesSeveral types

What is Prejudice?

Prejudice is the negative attitudes or feelings for a person or group of people based on their social identity. You can think about prejudice in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Prejudice has many different types and levels; which are defined by how much power one group has over another. People with privilege (those who hold positions of power) may be prejudiced against those without privilege (those who do not hold positions of power). The most blatant form would be discrimination; which is when one person or group purposefully excludes others from opportunities because they feel that they are better than them. This could be done through violence like lynching someone because they’re black or it could happen at work where managers hire less qualified white males over minorities and women.

sushil nash aquFG6zZspk unsplash 1

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is a word with many meanings. It can be defined as the unfair treatment of someone because they belong to a specific group or category, such as their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. Discrimination can also refer to decisions made by an individual that are influenced by these groups and categories which limit opportunities for the person being discriminated against. In this post we will explore what discrimination means in both senses of the word and see how it affects people’s lives. 

Discrimination can be defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” This definition highlights how it does not matter what category you fall under; there are always going to be those who discriminate against you because they feel superior in some way. It is important that everyone knows their rights and where they stand legally when it comes to being discriminated against so that justice can truly be served.

sushil nash pbJy307PCYA unsplash 1

10 Differences between Prejudice and Discrimination

1. Discrimination is a behavior, prejudice is an attitude.

2. Prejudice can be based on race, religion, or sexual orientation.

3. Discrimination can be unintentional as well as intentional. 

4. Prejudice usually has negative connotations while discrimination doesn’t always have to be negative.

5. Discrimination often occurs in the work place and it’s illegal. 

6. A person who is prejudiced against someone of a different gender may not discriminate against them but they will still hold their prejudice.

7. Prejudice is the act of holding a preconceived opinion or bias against someone or something.

8. Discrimination is treating people unfairly because they belong to a certain group, such as their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity.

9. There are many types of discrimination that can happen in society including racial discrimination and religious discrimination.

10. Racial Discrimination refers to unfair treatment based on one’s skin color. 

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Prejudice

1. Prejudice is a negative attitude towards people of different groups.

2. Negative attitudes are not always intentional, but they can lead to discrimination.

3. Discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfairly because of their group membership.

4. There are many forms of prejudice, including sexism and racism.

5. The term “prejudiced” comes from the Latin word for “pre-judge,” which means to make up your mind before you know all the facts.

6. When someone is prejudiced against one race or gender, it’s called bigotry; when they’re prejudiced against more than one group, it’s called intolerance.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of  Discrimination

1. In the United States, a person is more likely to be killed by a gun than in any other developed country.

2. The top 1% of people in the world own 50% of all wealth.

3. Women are still making only 77 cents for every dollar that men make.

4. Black women earn 64 cents and Latina women earn just 54 cents for every dollar white men make.

5. LGBT individuals are twice as likely to live in poverty than heterosexuals.

6. There were nearly 3 million prisoners under state or federal jurisdiction in 2016 – up from 2 million twenty years ago.


Discrimination is not necessarily a negative word. It simply means that we discriminate between different things and people, which has been proven to be essential for our survival as humans. However prejudice can lead to discrimination and it often does with minority groups who are the most affected by these attitudes. Prejudice is something we all possess in some form or another but must work hard at overcoming if we want to become more aware of the effects on others around us. For example, someone may have prejudices against Muslims because they feel like their religion is violent and intolerant towards other religions such as Christianity–however this person would be discriminating against those who practice Islam just because they’re Muslim instead of looking into what their religion really stands for or if these prejudices are even true.


Resource 01: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-prejudice-5092657
Resource 02: https://www.apa.org/topics/racism-bias-discrimination/types-stress

Scroll to Top