The concept of Social bias can be defined as a negative attitude towards others. This is on the basis of their race, sex, religion or even groups. It can be conscious or unconscious. This attitude can either be expressed in speech or in writing. In other words, social bias can simply be defined as prejudicial attitudes. However, it is important to differentiate prejudicial attitudes from discriminative attitudes. Social biases entail individuals having thoughts which are not converted into actions.
If the thoughts are translated into action then it would be defined as discrimination. Discriminative attitudes is thus a situation in which people do actions or behave in a manner to indicate that they are different in terms of their culture or groups.
There are various forms of social biases. This paper is therefore going to study the concept social bias in relation to other concepts such as discrimination, prejudice and stereotyping. In addition, it is going to look into the differences between the subtle and blatant bias. Moreover, the paper is going to discuss the impact of bias behaviors towards people and the ways to overcome the social biases.
Definition of Concepts
The concept of prejudice can be defined using different perspectives. The first perspective is the intellectual perspective and the second one is the behavioral. Prejudice basically entails having negative thoughts, feelings or opinion towards another person. This is usually done before obtaining all the details concerning that person.
In other words, they are as a result of hasty and faulty conclusion of things. In addition, the thoughts and feelings are not formed upon experience but rather based on the attitude of the society. The prejudice has a negative impact on the person in terms of physical space and social interaction. Prejudice is thus unjustified in any social setting because it has potential to cause harm on other people.
Stereotyping is described as overgeneralization or oversimplification of a concept or belief about a group of people due to their gender, race, event or even origin. The basis of stereotype is usually prejudices and not facts. Stereotypes are mostly used to classify and analyze people into groups instead of appreciating people’s unique differences. It separates individuals into groups in which others see themselves as one group while at the same time see others as different groups.
This behavior results to discrimination or even ridicule of a person or a group by another. It is important to note that it does not encourage diversity in a group rather it leads to stigmatization. A good example of a stereotype is when one meets a reserved person from a given group or country and generalize that all the people from that country or group are reserved.
Discrimination is basically treating a person or a group of people differently from another or others. This is on the basis of their color, race, ethnicity or nationality. Discrimination can take two forms; direct or indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination is when certain characteristics are used to classify and treat others differently.
For example color, race and nationality are some of the characteristics used in direct discrimination. Indirect discrimination is when there some activities or things such as practices that are being carried out and they result to discriminative actions against other people. In most cases, the discriminated always take the disadvantaged position. Discrimination in other words involves taking subtle or overt pressure that end up discouraging other people from socially living their lives to the full.
The Differences between Subtle and Blatant Bias
It is important to note that prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination are concepts classified under the term social bias. They are seen to have negative consequences on people. However, the impacts of the negative consequences differ. This is because the degree of social biasness in all of them differs as well. It is for this reason that subtle and blatant biases are key terms in social bias so as to explain the degree of biasness. In other words, subtle and blatant are two extreme categories in the bias spectrum.
Blatant biases are created in one’s mind. They are biases which are best explained by prejudice and discrimination acts. On the bias range, blatant biases are more severe and have severe negative consequences. That is, it can result to people hurting others simply because they belong to a different group of people. This is usually influenced by thoughts and feelings formed in the group against another group (Fiske, 2004). This kind of bias is expressed by people who are aware of their actions and are proud of it.
On the other hand, subtle biases are not always intentional and thus their degree of biasness is usually low. However, subtle biases are also harmful just like any other bias. An example of subtle bias is when a person wants to be accepted in the society. In this case even though the person comes from the discriminated group, he/she may appear to be acceptable from outside but in the real terms the group has not fully accepted him/her.
The Impact of Bias on the Lives of Individuals
The consequences of social biases are harmful to both groups, that is, the group biasing and the recipient. However, to the instigator the impact may be less harmful than the recipient. The extreme impacts are felt by the recipient. This is because they cause the emotional pain. In addition, social biases have negative impacts because they do not only affect the immediate persons involved but also the entire group.
Strategies That Can Be Used To Overcome Social Biases
The negative impacts of social biases can be overcome using various strategies. However, the task is not usually easy considering that it involves both emotional and cognitive components. One way of overcoming social bias is by avoiding division of groups. People should always work together despite their different backgrounds. This reduces the cases of competition hence no chance of developing hatred towards each other (Huffman, 2004).
Social biases result to hatred, anger as well as separation of people. Once developed, social biases become difficult to overcome. They have seen many people try to overcome them while others keep justifying the reasons for holding to them. It is important to understand that social biases do not lead to positive impacts and thus they should be avoided at all cost.
Individuals should know that differences exist among people and changes are bound to happen whenever different people come together. To overcome the social biases, people should know that it starts with self. No one should discriminate another on whatever basis. Instead, they should always seek to be united.
Fiske, S. (2004). Social Beings. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Huffman, K. (2004). Psychology in Action. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.