Unit 1: Beliefs
Unit 1
Social Justice 12
A Class Divided
Negative attitudes or prejudices are hurtful and harmful to others, and contribute to social injustices. When we
are raised in a society with negative attitudes and prejudices, we tend to unconsciously internalize some of these,
usually from a very young age. Part of the work of social justice is to change these entrenched negative
attitudes and prejudices.
A stereotype is a simple idea that we might have about a person or group with a racial background that is
different to our own. We may feel this idea is true for all members of that group. For example, the idea that all
Black people may be great at sports when in fact all Black people are not is a stereotype. In truth, some may be
exceptional at academics, business, research, or in working with others. It is unlikely that all members of a racial
group share all of the same skills and attributes. We need to question and learn about a range of racial, cultural,
or religious groups to broaden our knowledge and understanding.
Prejudice (pre-judge) -is an opinion, prejudgment or attitude about a group or its individual members. A
prejudice can be positive, but in our usage refers to a negative attitude.
Prejudices are often accompanied by ignorance, fear or hatred. Prejudices are formed by a complex
psychological process that begins with attachment to a close circle of acquaintances or an "in-group" such as a
family. Prejudice is often aimed at "out-groups."
Discrimination-is behavior that treats people unequally because of their group memberships. Discriminatory
behavior, ranging from slights to hate crimes, often begins with negative stereotypes and prejudices.
Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice is having already decided what a person of another race is supposed to be like based on little or no
experience with such people. Discrimination is acting on those negative ideas and thereby treating people of that
racial group unfairly.
For example, it was “understood” that Black people attending a movie in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia should not
sit on the main floor level. It was reserved for Whites only, so to ensure that would be the case, different rates
were charged for tickets. Visiting New Glasgow on business, African-Canadian Viola Desmond’s car developed
problems and needed repair. To pass time, she bought a movie ticket and sat on the main floor since she had
accidentally left her glasses in her car. She was ordered to leave the theatre, because she had paid the “Negro”
rate but was sitting on the main floor. Although she offered to pay the difference, she was arrested, not allowed
to consult a lawyer and fined. Her case, years before American Rosa Parks’ case, sparked an end to Nova Scotian
Unit 1: Beliefs
The Assignment:
Social Justice 12
1. Watch the following case study called, ‘A Class Divided’. Links are provided:
2. Create a journal entry where you write down what you are thinking. Respond to the following questions in
your journal:
a) What are your feelings/thoughts about the case study you just watched?
b) Are there any negative attitudes/stereotypes that you hold toward particular groups or individuals in
c) Why do you think people hold negative views or stereotypes about others?
d) How do you think people acquire these views?
e) What are the basic values underlying such views?
f) How is society affected when such views are held by a large number of people?
You are not limited to the above questions (feel free to write more!). Your response must be at least 2
paragraphs in length.
Ensure that you have checked your spelling and grammar before handing it in!
Mark Breakdown:
= Not met
= very strong
= Weakly met
Journal entry meets the
requirements of
assignment. Questions (a)
to (e) are answered.
Includes examples and
details. Attempts to
explain and communicate
Shows deep understanding
of topic/ideas. Goes beyond
the obvious.
Organization of journal is
clear and easy to follow.
Smooth flow from one idea
to another.
Spelling, grammar and
punctuation are accurate.
Neatly typed or hand
= Average
/ 20
= strong
Unit 1: Beliefs
Social Justice 12
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