Are you prejudiced? It won’t be surprising if you quickly say that you are not. But what is prejudice? It is Being biased or having a belief or attitude formed beforehand. It is to pre-judge.
I think the reality is that we are all prejudiced about some things and about some people. Actually I doubt if it is possible to grow up in a particular society at a particular time without developing prejudices about some people or groups of people in particular. We have opinions about people in our family, in our community, people in proximity to us. In turn we have opinions about people outside of our direct experience. The truth is that it would be very difficult if not impossible to function without these prejudices. Were it not for these pre-formed opinions about people, we would have to start from scratch every time we interact with someone new.
The problem comes in when we have negative or pejorative opinions of and attitudes toward groups of people simply because of their membership in a group different than ours. This is especially true when the individuals have no real choice about membership in the group. They are members of group X and we have subconsciously made prejudicial judgments about group X.
I suspect our list of personal prejudices would be fairly long for most of us. Having those prejudices is not all that much of an issue. They come with life and living. The issue is keeping the prejudices, not examining them, not making rational decisions about whether or not to maintain the prejudices we have naturally come to have.
In this episode of the Audio Tidbits Podcast, I explore the elements of prejudice and suggest some strategies we can implement to minimize how much they control our thinking, our behavior, our interactions with other people. With time and effort we can move away from judging people more or less exclusively based on which group they belong to and mostly on what they do, what they believe, how they relate to and interact with the rest of us.