People often mistake prejudice for a bias. Read the article, "Is Prejudice a Bias?" McGuire asserts there is a difference between the two.
Applied scientists say prejudice is a bias. Unfortunately, many give in to broad definitions, outlining its scope. Prejudice is an affective component like bias from which specific modes of thoughts and emotions occur, unjustly. These modes often form when a group or member attempts to justify with considerable thought an unacceptable emotion. We mistakenly call modes of thought and emotion biases.
Prejudices are negative modes that frequently cause unfavorable thoughts and emotions toward one thing over another. Biases, on the other hand, are what we call natural tendencies. That is, biases are modes that frequently influence our thoughts and emotions in favor of one thing over another. Both prejudices and biases are unjustified, thus influence our thoughts and emotions, unfairly. Hence, modes are what we call natural prejudice tendencies because a person’s prejudices and biases will frequently prevent objective considerations of another. Each reflect our beliefs, opinions, ideas, and values in the scheme of culture.
Consider this example. You highly value your relationship with In Su. However, it is based on the cultural stereotype Chinese make great marshal art warriors. In this case, scientists would call your opinion of her positive prejudice. Why? You have based your understanding of In Su on a generalization about her group membership. In addition, you favor In Su for her cultural characteristics. Similarly race psychologists, and researchers adept at understanding intergroup relationships, would call your mode of thinking a natural prejudiced tendency. How come, you ask? You have developed from oversimplified ideas of China, a tendency to assign Chinese positive traits. They would argue, to whatever extent, having an oversimplified idea of Chinese culture, alone, does not constitute prejudice. That prejudgment of a culture, group, or member reflect errors in value judgment. In this case,your tendency to judge all Chinese as sharing in the same cultural characteristics is misleading. Therefore, your misunderstanding of Chinese and their culture is biased, thus a problem of perception. In contrast prejudice, positive or negative, is a problem of categorization and judgment. Before you decide whether prejudice is a bias, consider two important factors: (1) Prejudice has connotations for people invoked by their conforming beliefs. It also presuppose other beliefs we would more formally call racism. (2) Bias is a problem of perception and judgment whereby people develop the idea of human categories from which specific meaning can be obtained.
In the scheme of culture, our natural tendency is to base relationships on group membership. People who do tend to make errors in value judgment. For this reason, their failure to understand relationships is caused by poor perception. We only acknowledge prejudice when it becomes a problem of categorization and judgment.
Broad definitions make understanding prejudice a challenge. Just when you think one definition has an exact meaning, another will make you rethink your earlier conclusion. To keep from getting frustrated, remember prejudice and bias are unjust, thus have negative connotations. On the one hand, definitions derived from bias accounts for all aspects of its primary or literal meaning. Definitions of prejudice, on the other hand, contributes only a piece to the puzzle. Although, when we define prejudice, many pieces of information are complementary rather than contradictory. Together, each definition helps us to understand the nature of prejudice and all its shortfalls.