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Difference Between Discrimination and Prejudice

Discrimination vs Prejudice

Human behavior is defined as man’s reaction or response to either an external or an internal factor. It is designed in such a way that it ensures man’s survival against the environment and his growth as an individual. It is influenced by such factors as emotion, ethics, culture, persuasion, and genetics.

How a certain human behavior is accepted depends on each society’s norms. Some types of human behavior are acceptable while others are not. Some are common and some are unusual while others can evoke controversy.
Two very controversial human behaviors are discrimination and prejudice. Throughout human history, people have manifested discrimination and prejudice against certain individuals as well as against certain events, foods, and things.
While both discrimination and prejudice convey a negative attitude towards someone or something and may refer to similar circumstances, they are distinct from each other. They complement each other as prejudice often leads to discrimination because discrimination is based upon prejudice. Discrimination is defined as the unfair treatment of an individual or group of people based upon favoritism and prejudice. It comes in different forms from the mild discrimination of choosing to eat certain foods over others to the more harmful discrimination against members of the opposite sex or sexism.

Then there is cronyism which favors friends and associates; racism or racial discrimination which is an abusive treatment of individuals from another race; heterosexism which is discrimination against homosexual individuals and many more. Discrimination, therefore, is an individual’s behavior towards certain things and people. It is the act of liking or disliking someone or something. It is reflected in an individual’s speech, action, and attitude, and is considered as a representation of prejudice.

Prejudice is defined as an assumption about someone or something. It refers to the act of judging people on the basis of gender, race, social class, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation without having enough knowledge of any facts. It is an abstract preconception towards something or someone which is biased. Taboos and partiality are common prejudices. People develop prejudices depending on the way that they are brought up and their culture and beliefs.
People manifest their prejudices in the way that they interact with other people; showing their discrimination against things even without having knowledge of any facts. Prejudice is the formation of preferences in the mind while discrimination is translating these thoughts into action.


1.Discrimination is the unfair treatment of a person or a group of people based on an individual’s feelings and preferences while prejudice is an individual’s assumption about something or someone.
2.Discrimination is a manifestation of prejudice or of putting prejudice into action while prejudice is an abstract preconception and is only in the mind.
3.Both prejudice and discrimination are reflected in an individual’s action, speech, and attitude. While prejudice is confined to man’s inner thoughts, discrimination can be very apparent.
4.Prejudice is the formation of impressions and interpretations about things and people while discrimination is the translation of these impressions and converting them into actions.

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