Al Though there are various meanings of the word prejudice, sociologists typically use it in a specialized sense. From a sociological perspective, prejudice is a negative attitude based on faulty generalizations about members of selected racial and ethnic groups. The term prejudice is from the Latin words prae ("before") and judicium ("judgment"). which means that people may be biased either for or against members
of other groups even before they have had any contact with them. Although prejudice can be either positive (bias in favor of a group-often our own) or negative
(bias against a group-one we deem less worthy than our own). it most often refers to the negative attitudes that people may have about members of other racial or ethnic groups.
Prejudice is rooted in ethnocentrism and stereotypes. When used in the context of racial and ethnic relations, ethnocentrism refers to the tendency to regard one's own culture and group as the standard-and thus superior-whereas all other groups are seen as inferior.Ethnocentrism Is-maintained and perpetuated by stereotypes-overgeneralizationS about the appearance. behavior. or characteristics of members of particular categories, The term stereotype comes fr m the Greek word stereos ("solid") and refers to a fixed mental impression. Although stereotypes can be either positive or negative. examples of negative stereotyping abound in sports. Think about the Native American names. images. and mascots used by sports teams such as the Atlanta Braves. Cleveland Indians,
Golden State Warriors, Kansas City Chiefs, and Washington Redskins. Members of Native American groups have been actively working to eliminate the use of stereotypic mascots (with feathers, buckskins, beads, p ars, and "warpaint"), "Indian chants," and gestures (such as the "tomahawk chop"), which they claim trivialize and exploit Native American culture. College and university sports teams with Native American names and logos also remain the subject of controversy in
the twenty-first century. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently adopted a policy prohibiting colleges with hostile or abusive mascots,
nicknames, Of imagery on their team uniforms from hosting any NCAA championship competitions. According to sociologist Jay Coakley (2004), the use of
stereotypes and words such as redskin symbolize a lack of understanding of the culture and heritage of native peoples and are offensive to many Native Americans.
Although some people see the use of these names and activities as "innocent fun:' others view them as a form of racism.