Normally racism is used to mean generalizing about an entire race based on a few individual examples, but what is the word to mean to apply attributes of an entire race to a single individual? That is often referred to as racism as well, but I believe they are distinct and would like a more precise word or term. I know the terms for the logical fallacies associated with it, but am seeking a general English term.

For example, three nurples bit me, therefore all nurples are biters. This is a case of an overgeneralization.

This is the term I'm looking for: Most nurples are savants. Aijan is a nurple. Therefore Aijan is a savant. This is a case of fallacy of division.

Is there a more plain word to express the second example, carrying the connotation of racism, but not the word racism proper?

  • What nurples in this context? – Lukasz Madon May 28 '13 at 9:25
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    If you "apply attributes of an entire race to a single individual", is that not just a special case of "generalizing about an entire race", just with one individual being the focus of that generalisation? – Hammerite May 28 '13 at 9:52

Where racism is a move from specific to general, discrimination is a move from the more general to the more specific.

discrimination 3. Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice

This means that prejudices held by an individual towards a group are transferred onto a single individual without regards to his individual merits. Of course, discrimination has a more general sense (as does racism) but according to your dichotomy, it fits the movement from general prejudice to individual prejudice.

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    discrimination does imply a negative. "he is asian so good at maths" or "of course he is a great lover - he's Belgian" are stereotypes but not necessarily discrimination – mgb May 28 '13 at 13:00
  • i love your second example....Belgians needs a stereotype (positive or negative) they can cling on to :D :D – Darling May 28 '13 at 17:13

You are looking for:

stereotype : 4. (Sociology) A set of inaccurate, simplistic generalizations about a group that allows others to categorize them and treat them accordingly

In your case it would be racial stereotyping.


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