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Prejudice is a preconceived or biased opinion, it is not based on a fact, reason or experience. It is not the same as not liking someone. Prejudiced people might dislike people who are different from themselves, it causes people to behave in a discriminatory way.

Stereotyping is a form of prejudice it means viewing whole groups of people and assuming they are the same, for example, all people over the age of 65 are frail and need to walk with sticks.

All men with shaved heads are violent.   Sometimes people are prejudiced about others simply because they do not understand peoples lifestyles, cultures or preferences.

The effect of stereotyping is that it makes people jump to conclusions about other people and this could lead to them not being given the opportunity to fulfil their potential for example not being offered a job.  Stereotyping can influence how you or others think about someone, do not be quick to make judgements or assumptions about people.

So why do people stereotype? Sometimes people stereotype others because it helps them to deal with differences they see in others, it helps people to form a group identity or it can help them to feel safe.

It enables someone to think they can justify their actions to someone. But Stereotyping and prejudice regarding someone lead to a discrimination or power over someone.  Labelling is also a problem. Not only does stereotyping affect how we judge others but it also has an effect on their self-image. People can become what they think we expect them to be and not what they really are.

labels define an individual as a particular type of person, it can change a person behaviour. When we label a person we do not treat them as an individual,

Think about the types of discrimination we have covered and think if you have ever excluded someone in a social activity because of a perception you have had about them or because you have had preconceived ideas about someone due to what they look like.

Some of the fundamental things to think about when trying to promote equality and diversity are not only the language we use but our own perceptions of someone.   90% of what we believe about someone is made up in the first 90 seconds of meeting them.

As an employee or even member of a public where you come into contact with people either by telephone, email letter, fax or face to face, you can cause offence just because of the words that you use.

Think about the language and expressions you use, do not use words that degrade people with problems or disabilities. Avoid language that is racist, sexist and or demeans people because of a disability, or could cause offence. Think about expressions you use and ensure they do contain derogatory words.

Encourage the people you work with to achieve their full potential do not assume you know what it best and supports people in challenging barriers that stand in their way.

Refuse to accept behaviour which you know to be discriminatory. Educate people around you, knowledge removes fear which can lie behind a prejudice.