External social stigma
External social stigma is a belief attachment which is often similar to addiction and mental illness in that there is a feeling of emotional insecurity and a desire for control and a feeling of superiority through the formation of negative assumptions made about someone on the basis of their identity.
Categories of stigma
There are six categories of stigma.
These categories are based on someone's identity and the stigma tied to the belief attachment can be based on any one or more of the above six categories.
There is a concept of superiority or an enhanced feeling of entitlement which is often connected to the stigma which can often manifest itself as a resentment shown to the victim for accessing opportunities or amenities considered to be above them. Often there is a belief in a social hierarchy which can be based on citizenship, religious or political beliefs, income or material status or occupation.
Abdication of personal responsibility
The belief attachments associated with social stigma come from a lack of moral reasoning (which would inhibit the stigma) and often there is an abdication of personal responsibility to an authority figure for one's moral choices, decisions and actions. This can give the perpetrator something of a cult like mentality and quite often authority is quoted as justification for the stigma. This authority can be religious or political in nature and is sometimes accompanied by the further justification that 'other people think like me'.
Status loss and depersonalization
Social stigma takes place when someone suffers status loss and denial of opportunities which are commonly accessible to other people, such as opportunities in housing, employment, education and access to amenities such as healthcare or using services normally provided to other people.
Social stigma manifests itself in behaviour and attitudes which can vary from person to person and can manifest itself in shunning, passive hostility, avoidance, trolling, bullying, verbal attacks and even physical attacks. Generally the desire is to exclude and when stigma is generated through social and cultural beliefs on a larger scale, such as through the media or by politicians or religious figures (who provide the authority necessary for the abdication of responsibility) this can result in social exclusion for people who are stigmatized in certain ways.