What Is Merton’s Typology of Prejudice and Discrimination?

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Merton’s typology of prejudice and discrimination is an examination of the four possible personality types that exist regarding the treatment, in thought and action, of minority groups. They include the all-weather liberal, fair-weather liberal, fair-weather illiberal and all-weather illiberal.

Prejudice in Morton’s typology refers to preconceived and irrational notions and attitudes toward categories of people, particularly negative views toward minority groups. Discrimination is the act of treating someone unequally or unfairly due to their status as a minority. The all-weather liberal is not prejudiced or discriminatory but can forget that others do not share their views. Fair-weather liberals are not prejudiced but resort to discriminatory acts for profit. The fair-weather illiberal is prejudiced but, often to due fear of the consequences, does not actively discriminate. All-weather illiberals are both prejudiced and discriminatory. These individuals are unashamed of their prejudice and typically feel entitled.