5 Stages of Prejudice

• Literally “to speak against”
• The first stage in which feelings of negative
prejudice come expressed against those
people on whom on feels prejudice by speech
• The most common form of prejudice
• Rears its head in many different ways from
ethnic jokes to direct name calling
• The next stage in prejudice in which people
intentionally refuse contact with the group they
harbor prejudice towards
• Often seen, like anti-locution, to be relatively
• If it is generally viewed as unacceptable it is still
not often connected to violence
• However, this is a further de-humanization of the
people who are hated or disliked; it is a direct
refusal to see the humanity in the other; this
forced blindness opens the door to outright
• Specific denial of human rights to people
• Specific examples:
– Denial of jobs based on race, ethnicity, sex,
religion etc.
– Segregation of neighborhoods/schools
– Restricting educational opportunities
Discrimination continued
• Again, this is not considered outright “violence”
i.e. physical attack or killings
• However, the stripping of rights is considered not
only leaves a group of people more vulnerable to
widespread violence but also is a sort of passive
violence in which people are prevented their full
human dignity and rights
• In the disasters of the 20th century, legalized
discrimination was almost always the last stage
before mass killings
Physical Attack
• Where prejudice actually turns physically violent
• Does not necessarily have to be direct attacks on
persons themselves but rather can include
property vandalizing, graffiti, desecrating of holy
sites, etc.
• Usually these sorts of attacks are sporadic,
uncoordinated, or mob related
• In the case of an event like “Kristallnacht”, it is
state-sanctioned violence which was mostly
directed on things rather than people
• Obviously, the final and most total stage of
• The intention and action to eliminate the
undesired group by either deportation or
• Infamously, the 20th century has seen this
stage become reality in the Armenian
genocide, the Holocaust, and the Rwandan
What is the common thread?
• Throughout all of these stages of prejudice there
is the common refusal to see or recognize the
other as human
• To pursue acts of prejudice, one must always
reduce the undesired group to sub-human or
less-than human
• For Hitler, the term was “untermensch”; other
times it’s “dogs” or “rats” or “vermin”
• Also, there is the unmistakable hatred and fear of
diversity throughout these 5 stages; diversity is
not good: it is an inconvenience at best and at
worst a direct threat to your whole way of life

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