Difference Between Prejudice and Stereotype

Main Difference

Since the world came into being, people started living in the form of groups. While living in the groups, people sharing space together and having a camaraderie have certain beliefs and attitudes towards each other that is literally based on how you well you know each other. Prejudice and Stereotype are the two types of held believes or image about the certain people or things within the society. Prejudice is a kind of preconceived opinion or assumption about the people or things in the society that is based on the lack of knowledge. In simpler words we can say that it is a hasty conclusion about someone or something without having the adequate knowledge about it. In prejudice one is tend to like or dislike some one based on its affiliation with certain group. On the other hand, stereotype is the widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. In other words we can say that stereotype is the common mindset about something or someone that can either be based on truth or false.

Comparison Chart

BasisPrejudiceStereotype
DefinitionThe opinion about someone that has nothing to do with reasoning and personal experiences but just conceived as a judgment.The opinion about someone that has spread among people that get widely held and becomes the mere idea of an individual or thing.
TypeThe belief of someone about a group of people.A feeling about people based on their association with someone.
NatureEither positive or negative.Neither positive or negative.
DependencyIt does not base itself on truth and mostly just the opinion of one person about the other person.It may base itself on truth or get originated from prejudice.

What is Prejudice?

It is a preconceived image or opinion about something or someone that is actually based upon the lack of knowledge. It can push one to liking or disliking of someone or something without having the adequate knowledge about it. In our daily lives we like or dislike people knowing very little about them, which is based on their affiliation to the certain type of group. In Prejudice one becomes judgmental quite early and makes a hasty conclusion without having the adequate knowledge.This belief and attitude towards the people can be based upon ethnicity, race, gender and caste. Prejudice can either be positive or negative as it is based upon our knowledge about that particular thing or person. If one shows likeness to other based upon prejudice it is the positive prejudice and if one shows dislikeness to other based upon prejudice it is the negative prejudice.

Example of Prejudice

Hiring a White applicant rather than Asian or Black as one thinks that Whites have better knowledge about accounts.

What is Stereotype?

It is the common mindset or oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. It can either be true or false. It can also be based upon ones’ actual experience and that is why it stick with himself/herself as the oversimplified image. For instance if a girl is in a relationship with boy, and it ends up due to disloyalty from boy’s side. Than the girl opining that all boys are disloyal will be the stereotype in the case as she will be following the oversimplified image she got from her experience and the common mindset of the society. A stereotype can either be positive or negative with respect to the oversimplified image about particular type of person or thing. Nowadays we hear the term ‘breaking stereotypes’ it actually refers to doing something beyond the expectations or the oversimplified image held by the people in the society.

Example of Stereotype

Women can’t join military forces was a common gender based stereotype years back, now hundreds of women have joined the military forces and are on the top notch, actually they have broken stereotypes.

Key Differences

  1. Prejudice gets defined as the opinion about someone that has nothing to do with reasoning and personal experiences but just conceived as a judgment. Whereas, stereotype gets defined as the opinion about someone that has spread among people that get widely held and becomes the mere idea of an individual or thing.
  2. Prejudice becomes the belief of someone about a group of people. On the other hand, prejudice becomes a feeling about people based on their association with someone.
  3. Prejudice does not have anything related to the positive or negative image of someone. On the other hand, the stereotype can either make others feel negative or positive about things.
  4. The act of prejudice does not have any relation to facts or experiences in life, on the other hand, the act of stereotyping gets based on people who have actual happenings in life.
  5. Prejudice does not base itself on truth and mostly just the opinion of one person about the other person. On the other hand, the stereotype may base itself on truth or get originated from prejudice.
  6. People who have a prejudice about others may want to cause some damage to the other person, on the other hand, an individual who considers others stereotype does not have any such opportunities.

Comparison Video

YouTube video
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

View all posts by Aimie Carlson