Prejudice raises a host of ugly thoughts. While not inherently bad, prejudice usually means more than predisposition to particular flavors of ice cream.
Our feelings develop from influences of people around us near and far. We pick and choose what to believe and what to hate. Prejudice is not a genetic trait.
“In some ways we are wired for it — but in other ways, I do believe we are taught to pre-judge,” said Ivana Taylor. She owns DIYMarketers, a company “committed to helping small business owners get out of overwhelm.” Among her advice, prejudice is bad for business.
Although prejudice is a preference, when you mix in hatred — especially against others — that’s where trouble starts.
“In the most literal meaning of the word ‘to pre-judge,’ yes, you can pre-judge the safety of a street or action,” Taylor said. “The main cause of social prejudice, has to be the constant reinforcing conversations and news stories.”
Listening to others who you think make logical arguments will shape or match your view of the world. Problems develop when you expand a prejudice and impose it on a person or an entire class of people.
Being tolerant and open minded lets you appreciate the world in its many colors, not harsh contrasts of black and white.
“Yes — and that is a choice,” Taylor said. “Kind of like when my parents would force me to go on visits with them — when I was younger — and even though I was determined to pout, I had a good time anyway. Be open minded. You’ll be surprised.
“Having tolerance and an open mind is like having patience to allow people to show you who they are,” she said.
Experiencing prejudice can soften or harden your heart. You might be appalled by treatments or see them as vindication of your beliefs.
“Such experience starts a negative and limiting conversation,” Taylor said. “Then we find evidence for prejudice everywhere.”
Prejudice and assumption are related, but prejudice is the evil twin.
“I think prejudice has evolved into a societal term while assumption is less emotionally charged, but they are similar,” Taylor said.
Look at others
We can combat our prejudice through exposure — seeing how the other half truly lives and works — seeing that other people are equally human.
“I love that word, how it fits the purpose — exposure — it reminds me that we need to be transparent with ourselves,” said Iva Ignjatovic. She is a marketing, strategy, leadership and business consultant and founder and CEO of Point S Studio.
Taylor noted that exposure can heal differences.
“If everyone were ‘exposed,’ we could see how alike we all were,” she said. “The way I combat prejudice is to ask myself, ‘Is this really true?’ Often, it’s not.”
Prejudice can apply to any person and place you can think of — red and yellow black or white; male and female; rich or poor. The list goes on.
“I believe there is social prejudice and personal prejudice,” Taylor said. “Either way, it’s allowing your brain to jump to conclusions based on limited information.”
Preconceptions also play a part in prejudice.
“My preconceptions are stories that I tell myself and thoughts that have evolved into beliefs,” Taylor said. “I hate them.”
The best solution to prejudice is exposure and hope that those with prejudice see the light. However, if they’re not looking for light, they won’t see it.
Taylor concluded that prejudice can be dashed when you “connect with people personally and in real life.”
About The Author