Prejudice


Are you prejudice about anything?  You are probably saying "no". But chances are, you are probably prejudice about something. In fact I will go further.  I think that every person is prejudice about something.


Do you know what the definition of "prejudice" is?  It is the unsubstantiated prejudgment of something, some individual, or some group of people.  It is based on not having full knowledge about whatever it is.  I don't think any of us have full knowledge.


Here is the full definition:  "Prejudice is unsubstantiated prejudgment of an individual or group, favorable or unfavorable in character, tending to action in a consonant direction". 

The hostility that prejudice can engender and the discrimination to which it may lead on the part of a dominant population toward an ethnic group, gender, religious or linguistic minority have caused great human suffering throughout history. Some researchers attribute prejudice to deep-rooted "fear of the stranger," while others cite religious or nationalist chauvinism, and fear of economic competition. Most, however, agree that prejudice is learned and can be reduced when members of different communities work together toward the realization of a common goal. 

Prejudice is a hostile opinion about some person or class of persons. Prejudice is socially learned and is usually grounded in misconception, misunderstanding, and inflexible generalizations. The word prejudice is most often used to refer to preconceived judgments toward people or a person because of race/ethnicity, gender, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, nationality or other personal characteristics. It can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include "any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence."

One can be prejudiced against, or have a preconceived notion about someone due to any characteristic they find to be unusual or undesirable. A few commonplace examples of prejudice are those based on someone’s race, gender, nationality, social status, sexual orientation or religious affiliation, and controversies may arise from any given topic.

Like most minority groups, homosexuals and bisexuals are not immune to prejudice or stereotypes from the majority group. They may experience hatred from others because of their sexual preferences; a term for such intense hatred based upon one’s sexual orientation is homophobia. Due to what social psychologists call the vividness effect, a tendency to notice only certain distinctive characteristics, the majority population tends to draw conclusions like gays flaunt their sexuality. Such images may be easily recalled to mind due to their vividness, making it harder appraise the entire situation. The majority population may not only think that homosexuals flaunt their sexuality or are "too gay," but may also erroneously believe that homosexuals are easy to identify and label as being gay or lesbian when compared to others who are not homosexual.

I have seen the ugly head of prejudice with in my own family. I have a former "in-law" who could be the poster girl of prejudice and hypocrisy. I have seen her brag that she and her husband own a shopping center. People get the erroneous idea that she and her husband built up a multi-million dollar commercial real estate company. The truth is that she inherited it from her daddy. In my opinion there is poverty in intelligence as well as education that would make it quite difficult for her to obtain any lucrative income without her daddy providing her with the means. She is an active Mormon. She is so fearful of homosexuals and those people who are into bondage and other orientations, that I was not permitted to see any of her children, (all of which are adults) or to go to her house. I was told about how fearful and protective she is of her family if she even thinks that I am near. She told me that she did not want me to "contaminate" her family. Let me tell you just a little bit about how dangerous I am. I have never been arrested or assaulted anyone. I have never spoken to her children in the past about anything remotely having to do with bondage or homosexuality. I always kept my language and mannerisms respectful and clean around them. I do not have any catching illness. Of course she thinks that I am "very very mentally ill". In her thinking, anyone who is gay or into bondage is doing something evil. They are making "bad choices".  She presents herself as being wise and righteous. After all, she is one of the chosen white people who belong to the only true Church. But underneath there is a snobbishness, desire for power, and orientation to self which is hidden under her plastic facade. I doubt that she will ever educate herself enough to be able to not be prejudice. I remember her telling me that Martin Luther is mentioned in one of the Mormon scriptures. It was quite obvious to me, having read those writings myself many times, that she had never read them. She lives on blind faith, believing in the foolish traditions taught to her. Is there Christian love and kindness to those who she does not understand or are in the same social class as her? In my opinion the answer is no. I only mention her as an example of prejudice that I saw firsthand. 

I find is sad that people get so programmed in their minds by their upbringing or religious indoctrination that they become closed minded and fearful of anything beyond the understanding of their little world. They would never even consider that some of their attitudes and thoughts are in error. They continue to hang on to their superstitions and bigotry. I cannot judge them for their fallacious thinking however, they have been quite brainwashed from an early age. Getting deprogrammed is not easy. So we who are more enlightened need to remember that. We cannot be prejudice back, calling them bad or evil because they are so non-accepting of diversity. We risk doing to them what they do to us. We must take the high road. Slowly, over time most of society will become more tolerant and if we are patient with them and not be "in their face about it". We who are in the minority need to show that we are good people, helping to build a better society. The world is changing, and we can help it change for the better.

"Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones." 

- Charlotte Bronte