What Is Prejudice?

6, 7, 8

Learners will define prejudice, bias, racism, and stereotype so that they will have the necessary skills to analyze the effects these attitudes have on society. Learners will identify how acts of philanthropy worked to defeat bias, prejudice, racism or stereotyping.

PrintTwo Fifty Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define the vocabulary words bias, prejudice, stereotype and racism and give an example of each.
  • identify various groups who have historically struggled to win the right to be heard.
  • identify an act of philanthropy in the struggle to achieve the right to be heard
  • analyze the effects of the various forms of prejudice on a society.

One copy of The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss (see Bibliographical References).

Home Connection 

Have the learners ask their parent/guardian to share with them any instance they know of that would demonstrate bias, racism, prejudice or stereotype. Have the students write these examples on a sheet of paper, in complete sentences, to bring into class to share.


Seuss, Dr. The Sneetches and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1961.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Write the word "Sneetch" on the board. Let learners know that for this discussion they are to assume the word "Sneetch" is a type of creature. Ask learners to draw a picture of what kind of creature they think a Sneetch would be.


  2. Put the words bias, prejudice, stereotype, and racism on the board. Working in groups of two or three, ask learners to come up with a definition of each word. Groups may have only one definition for each word.

  3. Have one person, selected by each group, share the definition for one of the words with the class.

  4. Share the dictionary definitions of each word with learners.

  5. Read The Sneetches to the class.

  6. Ask learners to return to their groups and list examples of prejudice, bias, racism, and/or stereotype from the book. (Explain that they may not find examples of each.) While learners are discussing, make four columns on the chalkboard. Label each column with one of the vocabulary words being discussed.

  7. Have a spokesperson from each group share the group's examples with the whole class. List these examples on the board under the appropriate heading.

  8. Ask the learners to give an example of philanthropy from the story.

  9. Have learners return to groups to research different examples in history where individuals have been denied their rights due to discrimination. Research may be done on the Internet or in the library. Encourage each research group to come up with at least one example that has not yet been mentioned in class discussion.

  10. Share research results with the whole class. Discuss the importance of including every voice, and ways in which society as a whole has benefited from the participation of those individuals formerly excluded.

  11. Discuss how the bias for or against stars affected the "Sneetches" society, how they overcame this prejudice.

  12. Discover through learner responses how the story may have turned out if they had not been able to change their attitude


Have each student write two paragraphs describing a situation from the reading and one historical event from their research that demonstrates each of the four vocabulary words. Paragraph Rubric Points Description 4 To receive four points for the paragraph, it must contain the following elements: define all four terms describe a situation illustrating all four terms from their story cite an historical example from their research demonstrating the concepts 3 Define terms, give a situation from their story illustrative of at least two terms,cite an historical example demonstrating at least one term 2 Contain two definitions and cite either an example from their reading or cite an historical example 1 Contain one required element

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify how families contribute to the socialization of children.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.5 Discuss examples of groups denied their rights in history.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.