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Prejudice - not giving a 'fair go'

respect; racism; sexism; tolerance; being; fair; prejudice; discrimination;


What is prejudice?

Prejudice (say pre-joo-dis) is a word that means judging someone or having an idea about them before you actually know anything about them.

It can also mean having an opinion about something without knowing anything about it.

  • prejudiceIt seems a bit silly to have an opinion on something or someone you know nothing about!
  • Unfortunately, we don't always see that we are being prejudiced.
  • We don't always see that we have strong ideas about certain people, their culture or their religion.
  • Unfortunately, we don't always see that we have been influenced by family, friends and the media to have ideas about something or someone of whom we have no personal experience.

Racial prejudice

prejudiceIn the 'olden days' maybe it was understandable that people would be afraid of another group of people who looked different, had a different religion and did things in a different way, because most people lived and died in the place where they were born.

People who always lived in the same place with others like them might fear that people who looked or acted differently may want their land or may want to hurt them in some way.

prejudiceNowadays, because people travel a lot, or go to live in a completely different country, or go to school with lots of people from different places, we should learn to respect each other's differences.

But sometimes these fears from the 'olden days' are sort of passed along in families, and a kid may find that he is being prejudiced against someone of a different race, even though he doesn't know that person.

If some people watch something on the news or in a movie which shows someone of a different race or culture doing something bad, then they may choose to think that all people of that race are bad people. How silly is that? There are good and bad people everywhere in the world.

Gender prejudice

Do you sometimes find yourself saying, "Oh, it's not fair the boys always get to…" or "The girls always get to…" ? Well be careful, because that is gender prejudice.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

    • For a long time there were some jobs that were only for boys and some jobs that were only for girls. 
    • Boys wouldn't go into 'girls' jobs, like nursing, teaching, hairdressing, modelling because they were thought to be not jobs for 'real' men!
    • But that has changed now. Lots more girls are going into jobs in engineering, medicine, science, sales and just about anything you can think of that girls were never given the chance to do long ago.
    • Why? Well, it was thought that it would be a waste of time and money for girls to do any job that needed a lot of time to learn, because girls would get married, have children then stay home to look after them.
    • Nowadays anyone can do any job if they have the training and the strength and the ability to do it.


    In many countries, everyone can choose what they want to do, and employers choose the best person for the job not whether that person is male or female.

    Of course there are still some countries where females are not expected or allowed to work outside the home, or even go to school, but not in Australia.

    Religious prejudice

    prejudiceAs you learn more about the world we live in and especially about the wars that have been fought, you learn that many of these wars were about religion.

    One lot of people was trying to make another lot of people believe in the same god or gods that they believed in.

    Some people even believe that their God wants them to kill others who don't have the same beliefs.

    Some countries are still fighting about religion. How sad it is that even in Australia some people are prejudiced against others who follow a different religion, and kids may not be allowed to be friends because of this.

    Recognising prejudice

    As soon as you hear people making comments like, all men, all people of one race, all girls, all boys, all people of a particular religion, all people with one ear bigger than the other, or whatever, then you can tell that there is some prejudice there.
    How can anyone know all people who….?

    If you catch yourself saying stuff like that, then think.

    How would you feel if:

    • kids didn't talk to you
    • no one wanted to play with you
    • no one trusted you
    • kids were afraid of you
    • you kept being told that you wouldn't be smart enough, or big enough, or strong enough, etc.
    • you weren't being given a fair go when they didn't even know you?

    If someone is being treated badly because of their gender, race, religion, disability or being 'different' then that is called 'discrimination'.

    Kids talk about prejudice

    prejudice"My mum and my dad are both nurses." Alan

    "When I was little my dad stayed home to look after me and my mum went out to work." Alex

    "I think that we are lucky to have people from different countries in our school." Maddy

    "People should just be friendly to other people." Jack

    "Everybody is good at something." Tim

    "It's not fair to be mean to someone when you don't even know her." Kirsty

    "You should try to make friends with people who are not the same as you. You could make a really good friend." Tom

    "When I came to live in Austalia some kids at school were mean to me because I have a different accent. When I made friends it got better and they stick up for me if anyone tries to give me a hard time about the way I talk." Jason

    A ‘fair go’.
    Not all girls are ‘girly’
    Not all boys are ‘strong’.
    Kids are very different
    So, try to get along.
    There’s nothing wrong with others
    Who are ‘different’ to you.
    Get to know each other
    And you’ll find out that is true!

    Dr Kim says:

    Dr KimIn Australia we often talk about "giving someone a fair go".
    We have people from most countries of the world who have come to live here. We may all look different, we may believe different things, we may worship in different ways, we may eat different food, we may be disabled in some way, we may not all speak English very well, we may be rich or poor, male or female, young or old but we are all people and we are all Australian. It's a good idea to accept that we are all different and learn to give each other a 'Fair Go'.

    If you feel that someone is being unfair to you or shows prejudice against you, look at our topic 'Stick up for yourself! Be assertive.'


    Talk to your trusted adults if you feel you are a victim of prejudice.

    You can also ring the Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

    Check out our topic in "Cyberbullying - bullying from a distance"

    The site gives you lots of tips about keeping safe on the internet.

    Do you know about Harmony day?

    • Almost half of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was.
    • More than 300 languages are spoken in homes around Australia.

    Every year we all celebrate 'Harmony day' in March. To find out more visit ''.

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    We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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