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Prejudice, Discrimination, Ethnocentrism

Prejudice refers to an irrational and often inflexible feeling or opinion towards certain members of a community. It is a preconceived judgment towards an individual of another religion, race, or gender. Prejudice encompasses either negative or positive beliefs about certain members of society. In turn, discrimination refers to a negative treatment of persons perceived to be unique in a society or group setting. It is a negative manifestation of prejudice that tends to involve bodily or emotional harm to victims of such discrimination (Trischler, 2009).

Ethnocentrism refers to a tendency of perceiving one’s culture as superior to others’ cultures. It entails the use of one’s values as a basis for judging persons of a different culture. The sources of ethnocentric feelings include perceived differences in technological advances or perceptions of another culture as primitive. Ethnocentrism may create positive outcomes if it is used to promote nationalism and pride in one’s heritage. It may occur when nationals are encouraged to offer services to their country as opposed to seeking employment abroad. Negative influences of ethnocentrism may be witnessed when this attitude is used to segregate certain members of society. A type of segregation leading to employment discrimination is a representation of negative ethnocentrism (Adorno, 2002).

Cultural relativism refers to the view that all cultural values and belief systems are of equal value and valid. This concept acknowledges that truth is relative as it is influenced by the environment of upbringing, situation, and individualism. Persons who embrace cultural relativism appreciate cultural diversity leading to creation of an accommodative environment. All opinions are relative and valid. However, negative consequences of cultural relativism arise when belief systems are not evaluated in decision making. Such instances are relevant for organizations in which acceptance of all opinions without critical analysis takes place, so it may lead to adverse effects on the overall performance of an organization (Adorno, 2002).

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