3 Types of Prejudicial Bullying

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Children and young people can experience bullying for a variety of reasons. But when it comes to prejudicial bullying, bullies are focused on the color of a person’s skin, their religious practices and even their sexual orientation.

Typically, prejudicial bullying is based on stereotypes and prejudices kids have toward people who are different from them. This type of bullying can encompass all the other types of bullying as well. For instance, victims of prejudicial bullying may experience cyberbullying, verbal bullying, relational aggression, physical bullying and sometimes even sexual bullying.

Prejudicial bullying arises from a misguided or learned belief that certain groups of people deserve to be treated differently or with less respect. When prejudicial bullying occurs, kids are targeting others who are different from them and singling them out. Often times, this type of bullying is severe and can open the door to hate crimes.

Anytime a child is bullied because of race, religion or sexual orientation it should be reported. Do not ignore the bullying or hope it will end. There is too much risk that it will escalate. Be sure to address it right away.

Here is an overview of the three types of prejudicial bullying.

Racist Bullying

Although this country has made some strides in race relations, racism still exists. Consequently, racist bullying is still an issue in schools. Racist bullying singles out people because of skin color, race or ethnic background. Some children are bullied because they are African-American, Chinese, Jewish, Italian, or Spanish. Even Caucasian children can be bullied for being white.

When racist bullying occurs, children are taunted by peers, called names, or excluded from the group because of hatred, fear, or lack of understanding. In some instances, racist bullying may cause children to be embarrassed about their skin color or ethnic background. To counteract the messages of a racist bully, find ways to help kids feel good about their heritage. And be sure to report all racist bullying. Too many times, racist bullying can escalate into a hate crime.

Religious Bullying

Lack of knowledge and understanding about the traditions, beliefs, and etiquette of different faiths can lead to religious bullying. In general, bullies target others because they are different. As a result, kids are taunted and teased about their religious beliefs. 

After 9/11, students with Muslim beliefs often became targets for bullying. People assumed that because the terrorists claimed to be Muslim that all Muslims were then terrorists. This type of belief comes from fear and a lack of understanding of what it truly means to be Muslim. And it is unfair to Muslim students.

It is important to note that Muslim students are not the only students that experience religious bullying. Even some students that belong to Christian religions may be ridiculed for studying the Bible and believing in Jesus. In fact, Christianity is considered a crime in some countries. Keep in mind that anyone can be bullied because of their religious beliefs. People also are bullied because they are Jewish, Catholic, and Hindu. Atheists can be bullied for not believing in God.

Many times, religious bullying results because of preconceived ideas or a lack of understanding about the differences between religions. These differences can include everything from beliefs, fasting, and prayer practices to the type of clothing they wear. Bullies point to these differences as a reason to harass and target the victim.

LGBT Bullying

LGBT bullying, or anti-gay bullying, refers to being physically or verbally harassed, because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT bullying also can include name-calling, sexual bullying, and cyberbullying. This type of bullying affects people in LGBT community as well as those who are perceived to be.

In other words, kids do not have to be gay to experience LGBT bullying. In fact, sometimes kids are taunted and called names simply because of the way they act or dress. Meanwhile, other teens are bullied for being lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals, or transgender. They are treated like outcasts and often ostracized from groups. They endure comments and sometimes even violence.

A Word From Verywell

When administrators or teachers see a pattern of prejudicial bullying in their school or classrooms it is important to address these issues right away. One way to do that is to implement a program that not only teaches tolerance for differences but also educates students about those differences. Eliminating fear and increasing knowledge, understanding and empathy should be the goals of the program. 

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Article Sources

  • "School Staff Responses to Gender-Based Bullying," SAGE Journals, February 13, 2008. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0895904807312469.