We all have prejudices. They stem from our upbringing, influences, and our experiences. From these things, we are kind of “taught” how to act in a certain situation. And this extends to how we treat others, too.
However, how often do we actually consider what our prejudices do to other people. How we make them feel by having these prejudices.
Prejudice is defined as “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience”
I think the simple way to put it is “pre-judgement.”
Here’s some examples of how prejudice or pre-judgement works from my point of view:
A person is brought up to believe in the teachings of Christianity. However, they have parents who are a bit strict. The see people outside of their religion as sinners. The child will grow up to believe this, too. They will largely associate with other Christians and believe those without a faith to be bad people. This is forming a prejudice against non-Christians.
Another example is this –
A person has been treated wrongly by a member of a certain race. They were rude or violent or scary. This person then believes that all members of that race must be the same. They see this as fact because they have “experienced it” and therefore they see nothing wrong in their beliefs. However, this is prejudice. They are making a pre-judgement of everyone of a certain race based on one poor situation. It is a gross overgeneralisation.
We know what prejudice is but we don’t know what the effects are on others. How it makes them feel to be the subject of prejudice.
Here’s but a few ways your prejudice affects those on the receiving end of it:
- Loss of friends
- Lack of opportunities
- Lowered job prospects
- Lower income
- Less relationship opportunities
- Verbal abuse
- Treated as less than
- Mental health issues: anxiety and depression, namely
- Less education/unfair treatment in education
- Limited to one ideal
- Unfair and inaccurate portrayals in the media
This is a lot. Imagine if any of these things effected you and your life. It would severely hinder it on a day to day basis, and more often than not, the person or people have no real reason to have such a prejudice against you in the first place.
Sickening, isn’t it?
Something so “small” and quick as a pre-judgment or stereotype can cause incredible harm and hurt to one’s life. Be careful with your thoughts for they become actions and behaviours that affect the world around you. And more importantly, the people of this world.
We are all just human, living our lives in our own way. Be open minded and allow people to live their way. Don’t stop them. Don’t control them. And don’t limit them with your prejudice.
Instead, give everyone a fair chance to demonstrate who they are.