How to Reduce Prejudice & Discrimation Against Other Social Groups

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Prejudice involves attitudes and preconceived beliefs or notions about a particular social group, while discrimination involves an act that disadvantages members of that group. One method of reducing prejudice -- the contact hypothesis -- assumes that the very nature of requiring people from different social groups to work together reduces prejudicial attitudes among those groups. Other techniques, such as education or discussion between social groups, can also be used to help reduce prejudice and discrimination,

Develop an educational lecture on prejudice and discrimination. Educate the participants on the effects of prejudice on society. Tell your participants that these attitudes create a less efficient society, create roadblocks and effectively create unnecessary social classes. Discuss the "Jim Crow" laws that were enacted in the United States during the late 1800s through the mid-1900s that promoted prejudice and discriminatory attitudes toward African Americans.

Create a program where multiple social groups have to work together toward a common goal. Make the program one that requires interdependence among the group members. Problem-solving tasks such as complex puzzles and role-playing scenarios foster this type of "contact" environment where negative attitudes among different social groups may be reduced.

Encourage a discussion among members of different social groups. Have each person detail his experience with being discriminated against and/or a victim of prejudice. Help the groups find common ground with their experiences and realize that discrimination and prejudice occurs not just to one social group but to many. Begin a dialog on how these attitudes and actions can be reduced, and make a list of these methods, soliciting answers from each of the represented social group members.

Start activities that are designed to reduce prejudicial attitudes toward social groups. Take a variety of members from one social group and have them visit a neighborhood composed primarily of another social group (e.g., Caucasians and African Americans visiting a Latino community). Encourage constructive conversations among all the people involved.

Plan a "heritage and culture" day that celebrates different ethnicities, minorities and social groups. Present information on the history and unique characteristics of each social group. Bring in tangibles such as cultural food that allow everyone to appreciate diversity.

Matthew Schieltz has been a freelance web writer since August 2006, and has experience writing a variety of informational articles, how-to guides, website and e-book content for organizations such as Demand Studios. Schieltz holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He plans to pursue graduate school in clinical psychology.