"Look around! You couldn't find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gang-bangers? Huh? No. Do we look threatening? No. In fact, if anybody should be scared around here, it's us: We're the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So you tell me, why aren't we scared?"
"Because we have guns?"
"You could be right".
These quotes were extracted from the movie 'Crash'. Two African American men remarking on the prejudice they believe others are showing to them, while simultaneously planning a crime- sort of ironic. This is a superb movie about prejudice, stereotyping, profiling, and discrimination based on many of the events occurring in America now.
Whether you admit it or not, prejudice is all around you, even within you. My goal in writing this is for folks to channel and focus their natural tendency toward prejudice into something more constructive, but certainly not to ignore it based on political correctness. Certain discrimination can be life-saving. And Learning to define oneself by what you love rather than what you hate can help determine whether your discriminating is justified or not.
Striving to be politically correct can lead to as much ignorance as blatant and unnecessary prejudice. Lasting prejudice: Holding a grudge for no reason or our parents passed the ignorance down or just from one incident, is not right. Protecting ourselves enough to make informed decisions based on pre-conceived notions and conclusions, such as prejudice, is wise.
In light of recent events, I'm beginning to analyze the necessity of prejudice. To view all prejudice as bad is not something I'm willing to accept.. During Portland, Oregon's tree lighting ceremony before Christmas, 2010, a car bomber was caught in the act, waiting for 10,000 people to show up on a festive holiday event so he could destroy lives and a city. He was following a Muslim terrorist group's plan. The issue here is our logic explains not all Muslims are bad, but some are and the magnitude of danger, when they are, should seriously be considered.
The trend I am seeing within our nation is a common dislike for that culture born from the disregard their people have for our culture. Who is right? Well, neither- not the nice and tidy answer you wanted. Perhaps our prejudice for that culture is based on what is necessary to protect ourselves. I worry someday that Americans will be more afraid to think of themselves as prejudice than to act on a justifiable fears or instincts.
Many Americans are quickly learning more about other cultures and various other political and social issues effecting us. Within the American egocentric mind-set, we can't imagine a culture of individuals who would commit suicide in an effort to plan and kill groups of people. Maybe it's also hard for us to accept a group of people who would disregard our laws and borders. Although this happening and Americans are shrinking in fear of looking prejudice or politically incorrect.
I find myself understanding the nation's growing prejudice against Muslims, terrorist groups, illegal immigrants, and mid-eastern culture. I don't think it is right, but the justification of prejudice as a necessary evil seems more like survival instincts. As an adult with enough knowledge and wisdom through experiences, I have gained judgement and even pre-judgement- sometimes helping me escape a bad situation.
The police and border patrol can't ignore a suspicious looking Hispanic even a mile from the border, they have to act on their prejudice, and profiling, for our safety. The military do it as well because their lives are in danger if they don't ackenowledge their prejudices while on foreign soils. During my high school years I lived near The Projects (one step up from the ghetto) and I learned to focus my prejudice as a combination of instinct and street knowledge.
Prejudice is natural and I believe necessary to react to in some cases. Animals in nature are prejudice as well. I'm not the only one."Ideas have consequences and the banishment of the idea of prejudice has had profound consequences for Western culture," T. Dalrymple explains in his book, "In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas."
"Today, the word prejudice has come to seem synonymous with bigotry; therefore the only way a person can establish freedom from bigotry is by claiming to have wiped his mind free from prejudice," Mr. Dalrymple writes, explaining that concept of "prejudice" (meaning "preconceived judgment or opinion") has suffered from its association with negative discrimination.
Several years ago, while taking psychology courses, I became open-minded about the term prejudice. Psychology will explain prejudice as normal and natural, but will call it "categorizing". Here's how categorizing was explained; a preconceived order and notion of all experiences and contact with others. In other words, we categorize and judge every person and very situation or place we come in contact with. Everything fits into categories in which we can simplify life so that we can easily assimilate the many experiences and contact with others that we will have in a lifetime. If we didn't do this, we would be overwhelmed and it would take far too long to judge each person and situation truly as individual and not based on our prior experiences. Life would be too overwhelming just as if we fear everything or don't fear anything- both are destructive ways of thought. To pre-judge circumstances and people, can help us differentiate between necessary fear and non-threatening, even if the fear doesn't amount to anything.
My other goal is to get this out in the open so that people aren't feeling guilty about having prejudice thoughts, but some judgement and preconceived notions are natural and help us stay safe and aware.
- The Case for Discrimination | Psychology Today
In the days of yore, to say that a man was discriminating was to pay him a compliment. It meant that he had taste; he could distinguish between the poor, the mediocre, the good and the excellent. His ability to make fine distinctions enabled him to l
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Timbo on November 11, 2015:
Prejudices are all fine, as long as directed against the other person. It's just when YOU are on the receiving end of them how cruel, illogical and nasty they can be!
samowhamo on July 05, 2013:
Some black people even say white people did this to us or white people took our children there was even this one black person who said why do white people always say blacks play the blame game that's not true don't they realize what we have been through and then this woman who I think was Native American she said that white people don't want to take responsibility for their atrocities. Well as far as Native Americans go yes maybe because to an extent they still are oppressed but not blacks black people today didn't go through those things their ancestors did so they should stop acting like they know what its like to go through those things when they personally didn't go through those things and white people of today didn't do those things either their ancestors did.
samowhamo on June 18, 2013:
There was this black man who said Steven Spielberg was racist just because he didn't want to make a movie about Michael Jackson and said whites dont care about blacks and whites are ape people who want to herm humanity. Black people these days complain about racism for the stupidest things and make jackass's of themselves its pathetic some of them are so small minded and unreasonable its like talking to a crazy person.
samowhamo on May 12, 2013:
Yes I have heard that speech some blacks say he is taking it out on the victims (blacks).
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on May 12, 2013:
Sam, I think Bill Cosby said it bets. He gave a speech a few years ago that black people need to take responsibility for themselves and stop blaming everyone else. We all need to take note of that, white, black, or purple. It's the same as feminists blaming men for all their problems.
samowhamo on May 08, 2013:
Some blacks think that white people deserve to be oppressed and as if that isn't strange enough there was this particular black man who said that black men should be ashamed of themselves for having lewd sex with white women and that whites are trying to make there kids homosexual and that whites are devils and dogs that they follow the devils way the way of death that they carry diseases and parasites that all non-black races are mistakes that's whites are fools that all or most of them are crazy that's why they end up in mental hospitals and that blacks are gods. And they say blacks cant be racist well I don't believe that whites are oppresses but I do believe there is racism towards whites and I think anyone who says different is either in denial or lying blacks keep saying were not racist, were not racist and yet everyday the do and say things that if it came from any other race it would immediately be labeled racist that just shows how hypocritical some of them are and that they don't mean what they say when they say there's no racism towards whites they just say it because its convenient for them when are they going to wake up and realize that whites are not in control of everything anymore sure there's still racism but that dosent mean whites are still in control of everything there has always been racism and there probably always will be.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on April 07, 2013:
Sam~ They also shouldn't blame guns, but that's exactly what they're doing. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. And those with Aspergers are not typically violent. But people do not educate themselves in either guns or mental illness so they just listen to the media hype.
samowhamo on April 06, 2013:
You said earlier that Asperger's has gotten a bad reputation because of the shooting well they cant blame that on Asperger's, Asperger's does not make people murder other people.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on April 05, 2013:
Sam, reverse racism usually refers to blacks to whites so I guess reverse sexism is on men or women hating men. I don't really hear the term reverse sexism much though. Equally, you will find men who hate women, really hate them. I find that most have had abuse in their lives and I find that with gays too- many have experienced molestation or rape. I have had both good and bad experiences with blacks so I'm indifferent on that, and same with men and women. I have probably had more bad experiences than good with women as I'e mentioned before I'd rather be friends with men.
The other day, I called to make an appointment somewhere and they gave me something almost two weeks later then my husband called for same thing and he was given 3 days later . Same lady doing appointments. We have had this happen before and my husband has been treated better by women than I have by women. I wonder what kind of sexism that it, but I find that women are just rude to other women.
samowhamo on April 05, 2013:
Speaking of reverse racism is that racism towards whites or something because that reminds me of this woman who said that reverse sexism is a male lie (I don't know if reverse sexism is sexism towards men or not but if it is it is clearly not a lie from my men's issues articles I have written) she even says she is proud to be a man-hater.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on April 05, 2013:
Sam, I left a comment on a gay marriage article the other day and somehow it got turned into racism and people were commenting against me saying white people have been so bad in the past. Well we should just look at the past within that context. Almost everything we look at in the past seems wrong or cruel or inhumane. We should not live in the past and this just creates reverse racism- blacks hating whites. White guilt just makes blacks and other minority groups stay victims. If I make it in something, I want to do it because of me, not because I'm a woman or because I'm not a man.
Asperger's has gotten a bad reputation lately anyway due to the mass shooter in the CT school. Having my education and experience in psychology, I would say mental illness is widely misunderstood and feared by many. The only media coverage it gets is when a shooter emerges and we find out he had a mental illness. Politicians will never do anything about it because it won't win them votes- there isn't a one side or the other- we'd all like to relieve the mental health issues in our country.
I'd say the link you gave me above is dramatic and many things issaitonal like this get attention on the internet- it should be outlawed.
samowhamo on April 03, 2013:
Hey izettl what do you think of this here. Please read this and tell me what you think honestly sometimes this makes me afraid to tell people I am autistic because they might think of me as less then human.
samowhamo on March 28, 2013:
You know it really surprises me what some black people will do to promote racism toward white people they ask are white people devils and there was this one person who's mother use to tell them that white people eat small children so that they would not befriend them.
samowhamo on March 14, 2013:
Also one of my neighbors knows a woman who is married to an African American man (which I have no problem with) what angers me is she says that white men are idiots and knock the crap out of you or something stupid like that I consider it a mixture of racism and misandry.
samowhamo on March 13, 2013:
On a side note the last comment he sent me it said you can delete all you want I am not going anywhere I will keep coming back.
samowhamo on March 13, 2013:
Hey izettl I deleted my racism article because this guy keeps posting this stupid comment that white men should change their skin color and live as a black man I keep deleting it but he keeps reposting anyway I deleted the article because I am getting tired of that idiot here'swhat else he said.
Truth is it is not that hard for a minority to make a fast buck by hollering discrimination against the white man. BLACK SKIN WILL PROTECT THE WHITE MAN FROM THESE LAWSUITS! That is why so many white people are choosing to have biracial kids because it gets them off the hook. Only an idiot would want to be a white man in today's world. Peace
I am biracial half white half black.
I am objective when it comes to race and I just noticed that people of all races will F*** with a white person a lot quicker than they would a black person. Black skin is like a shield. All races have enemies but black skin in my eyes protects you from your enemies. Especially if you are a male.
I am just trying to expose things that people overlook. My ideas are to address the complaints of white people. White people complain about being considered racist until proven innocent. Black on white crime. etc. Black skin is the answer to all the white mans problems. And it would be much easier for a white person to add pigmentation to his skin than for a black man to go white ex:(Michael Jackson).
I just want white people to know that it would be very easy for them to beat racism. If they don't want to be associated with being white all they have to do is when they have kids either a.) choose a black partner or b.) a white couple can ask a close black friend for a sperm sample. A lot of white people are choosing to have kids with black partners because they don't want their kids to be hated for all the white mans sins. Barrack Obama, Tiger Woods and myself are all loved not hated by the black community because our moms chose a black partner to have kids with.
Are black men/ Biracial men hated? Not nearly as much as white men. Barrack Obama almost got nearly half the white vote. Romney got maybe 2% of the black vote. So between Romeny and Obama who do you think would have benefited from getting a race chance in the year 2013.
The truth is if the white man was smart he would try to come up with a plan to add some pigmentation to his game. I don't think the white man knows how many enemies he has. The white man is an easy target. Black skin will protect him. Black skin would make a white nerd look more cool and masculine. I have friends and family that are white and I have told them all that black skin would protect them. Some agree some disagree. But we all have to remember this is 2013 NOT 1913. IT IS MUCH SAFER TO HAVE BLACK SKIN THAN WHITE SKIN. Peace.
I just feel like black skin reduces your chances of getting fired or horassed on the job. It just seems like people don't mess with you as much. I also feel safer walking to my car at night because of my pigmentation. I feel like a black skin attracts women like bees on honey. I could promote black skin as a chick magnet. I just feel like black skin is almost like a bodyguard and I don't understand why people don't realize this. But I am on a mission to let the cat out of the bag with limited resources.
PS I have already started leaving random notes in public reatrooms. You know how sometimes people leave those booklets on how the only way to be saved is through Jesus Christ as your saviour. I have been leaving notes about how I feel black skin would help the white man. And I hope God approves of what I am doing. While it may not always be popular I believe in my heart that I am doing the right thing. I think that black skin can protect those that can't protect themselves. I think that if a Napoleon Dynamite type person was black nobody would mess with him in most cases.
No I do not know of any white people who got a race change. But while 99% of black men are putting a negative spin on being black I go around telling people my perception of having black skin in america based on experience and what I see.
I am going to leave an anonymous note in the managers comment box where I work at and I am going to say what I really think. That some of the black employees there would work harder and complain less if the managers had a black face. I am also going to catch up with an ex coworker who is a white male that never got any respect and got picked on. Was he a bad worrker? Yes, but I can tell you people would have talked to him with more respect if he was black.
That is what my movement is all about. Telling these soft touch white males out there that don't get no respect that black skin would help them. I guess God has blessed me with a gift that no one else seems to realize. I look forward to promoting the race change movement. Any man who does not get any respect, Struggles with the ladies or does not get any love from the black community Black skin will turn the tables in a snap.
Black skin is like a bodyguard in my opinion and I laugh when people say otherwise. Peace.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on February 19, 2013:
I'll check it out.
samowhamo on February 08, 2013:
Hey izettl I have written an article on black racism if you are interested.
samowhamo on January 19, 2013:
Hey izettl this may not be the right place to ask this but is this here below suppose to be a joke because I find it kind of offensive.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on January 17, 2013:
Sam~ yes, often they're doing a disservice to themselves and its sad. As your hub pointed out, some women do this with men. if you think about groups of people, like African Americans, blaming a whole other group of people... this is prejudice at it's worst. It only proves they are acting no better than someone they believe did them wrong. Our society think we are progressing, but it's just not true. We are not progressing.
samowhamo on January 17, 2013:
That article that I wrote about victimhood and about some African-Americans having it is that why some African-Americans think they are still oppressed for example there was this woman who said white people cant be trusted they cant be our allies what could they possibly unseratand about our liberation when all they understand is oppression and there was another woman who was raped by another African-American and she blamed white people because she says African-Americans are still oppressed.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on June 30, 2012:
gmwilliams~ you are correct in your observations. I have been on the receiving end of reverse racism many times.
Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on June 29, 2012:
This is not prejudice but assessing the situation at hand. Insightful hub! When I attending elementary school, it was the students who came from the lower socioeconomic classes who were ill behaved, ill mannered, and bullied the other students. To this day, I perceive such children to be more confrontational than middle class children. This is not prejudice but a keen observation! Great job, izetti!
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on June 23, 2012:
Levertis steele~ Stereotypes are a strange thing. The things that people are leary of are the things they don't need to be. I think what I'm trying to focus on here is a combination of using prejudice and intuition to help with real dangers in life.
THanks for stopping by and sharing.
Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on June 15, 2012:
During Ben Laden's heyday, I was always leery of bearded men who resembled him, regardless of their race. I had to get a hold of myself and recognize that all bearded men of his stature and complexion were not terrorists.
Stereotypes can be contagious. I once visited a medical doctor who said, " I bet you like collard greens and cornbread, don't you?" He was Asian. I accepted it for what it was: he was merely teasing. And yes, I enjoy collard greens and cornbread if the preparations suit me.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on January 30, 2011:
THank you Char M!
And thank you too sonia05.
sonia05 from india on January 26, 2011:
Char M from Pacific Coast on December 27, 2010:
I agree with this even though people may view some of this as being politically incorrect. It's all true and put in a genuine way that you are known for. Great hub izettl.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 27, 2010:
arb I absolutely love that quote- well put.
arb from oregon on December 27, 2010:
The man that does not harbor predjudice is the man who sees neither good nor evil or even worse, it does not concern him.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 11, 2010:
Dave Sibole~ Thanks for the great comment Dave.
Dave Sibole from Leesburg, Oh on December 09, 2010:
Voted up and useful. Good read. Thanks for sharing.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 09, 2010:
jtcarr1164~ thanks buddy! There is some great conversation here and I love it when everyone is actually respectful. It makes it easy to have an intelligent conversation. Jim's a good friend to me. THanks for stopping by.
jtcarr1164 from Tueplo, Mississippi on December 07, 2010:
Laura, I go away for a couple of days and look what has happened! I guess Jim was here to take up for you while I was gone, but then it doesn't appear that you need help in the intelligence department!
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 06, 2010:
Winsome~ Great to see you. I tried to stay away from the word, discriminiation because it involves action and that is the result of processing info based on prejudice so we tend to think of hate crimes and denied job applicants. Discrimination is often linked to acting negatively on a prejudice notion or judgment. It doesn't have to be negative though- I would compare it to differentitation, but usually if we talk about acting on our prejudices, people will automatically assume that you are acting negatively and it must be racial so I tried to avoid using that word in particular and just wanted people to see how prejudice is as natural as a passing thought or instinct in a situation, etc.
I guess for some of the people who disagreed with me on this one, it was all about race to them. And it can be about race yet not be negative. I've given some examples.
I completely agree that the words have been given negative connotations only and it's hard for some to see past that because it has been embedded into our mentality by the politically correct police.
We both agree prejudice exists and it's how we apply our konwledge and some of those questions you asked as well, that makes the difference.
I really liked the story you gave as an example above. I'll have to check out that hub.
Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on December 06, 2010:
Hey Izzy, sorry to be so late getting to the party. First kudos again for your solid, unabashed penchant for topics that really mean something. You hit on one of my favorite subjects which I covered (In the most unlikely of hubs: Jesus Won't Stay Where You Put Him) In that hub I talked about a Greek word diakrino that roughly means to discriminate or judge rightly between things.
I notice that you seem to feel that prejudice is preferable to discrimination. That in itself is funny because to discriminate is merely the ability to tell if the light is red or green and thus safe to cross the street or between things that are hot or cold and thus safe to pick up or drop back on the stove. What is funny is that the word has gotten a bum rap because of how we apply that discrimination of the colors of races.
We have become "prejudiced" about the word discrimination. I believe the problem is not in the words but the choices we make based on the information we glean from those God-given abilities to sort out things or people. Deacons are derived from the word diakrino and are people valued because they have the maturity to judge situations when necessary and provide leadership. The problem is this--Peter wanted to walk on water like Jesus was doing and Jesus (probably chuckling to himself as he did so) said "Sure, come on." Peter does alright for a while until he looks around at the waves and wind and starts to sink. Jesus pulled him out and said these significant words: "You were doing well, why did you 'diakrino'?" We translated the word as doubt, but he was merely pointing out that since Peter was involved in an obviously supernatural experience, why apply the general rules of judgment about the waves and relative densities etc. to this situation.
In other words, if we want to make it in a world of dangerous or unpleasant situations, we have to learn to pick carefully the times we apply our prejudice or discrimination or judgment. We "sink or walk" in relationships as we apply our knowledge in a courageous and trusting manner.
One: Is there more going on here than my predispositions can explain or predict?
Two: Will it affect my future relationship with this person?
Three: Would I want the same standards applied to me?
Thank you for beginning and hosting yet another significant and thought provoking hub. =:)
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 06, 2010:
mysterylady~ Prejudice is natural and most of us take measures to gain more info or somehow "overcome" that natural tendency and that's good.
You were aware of possible prejudice about students so you didn't look at records and that's being aware, ackenowledging prejue exists and making an informed decision that it probably won't harm you to not know the students' records. THat'also great to know some teachers do that.
A lot of prejudice comes from experience and a combination of factors like people in certain places, media influences, etc. These feelings and gut instincts come from somewhere and many are based on prejudice which shouldn't be ignored or banished out of being politically correct.
mysterylady 89 from Florida on December 05, 2010:
Izetti, I am not claiming to be without prejudice, even though I have tried not to be. As a teacher I did not look up the records of my students because I did not want to pre-judge them. Many of my colleagues did this. Raised in Kentucky, I got in trouble with my parents when they discovered I had been dancing with blacks at church camp.
Several years ago, after going to an off-Broadway play in New York City, I could not find a cab and had to walk all the way back to my hotel alone, I was terrified. I guess that was prejudice. I mean, after all, I did not get mugged. (I also chose not to go off Broadway again!)
I live in a safe neighborhood, but I have been reading too many stories about older people in safe neighborhoods getting robbed or mugged or even raped that I have decided to play it safe. If that is prejudice, then so be it.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 04, 2010:
mysterylady 89~ Some people don't think of those examples as prejudice, but where does that notion to avoid dark streets in a bad neighborhood come from? Pre-judgment based on no reason. No reason, that is, specifically for you because you probably haven't had anything bad happen to you on a dark street so why do you think you should stay away? You were born with that common sense? it just came to you from no where?
I don't buy the common sense/caution because I would still like to know where those came from if not pre-judgment or prejudice. How would I know to stay away from a dark street in the ghetto versus my own street, which I have walked many times at night? My prejudice dictates to me that ghettos may have gangs or criminals living in them and my neighborhood doesn't. That is prejudice.
You say you don't walk down a dark street at night. I've walked my neighborhood at night, no worries, but more specifically I bet you would find that some neighborhoods you would be ok with walking at night and not other ones though. what would you call that differentiation? Just curious.
Thanks for being part of the discussion.
mysterylady 89 from Florida on December 04, 2010:
You certainly stirred up a hornet's nest with this hub! I have enjoyed the comments as much as the hub. Some examples of "prejudice" are actually examples of using common sense. I do not open my door unless I know who is knocking. I do not walk alone down a dark street at night. I don't think these are examples of prejudice.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 03, 2010:
Hubcrafter~ nothing to say about police or military who profile and react on prejudice for our safety. Like I said, you may not feel the need to worry- as you say America is safe because we are a powerful nation. Why are we a powerful nation- we have laws, police and militart to protect us.
However I believe your statement "America is the most powerful nation in the world. We have no fear for any nation to do us serious harm." is an oxymoron. Don't you know why we should fear? We are THE target if we are the most powerful- we are teh ones to beat. Who's going to bother with Sweden when they would get much more out of harming the U.S.
You say, "America is a multi-cultural place.We need not fear the nations who live amongst us as friends and neighbors." We should train prejudice out of ourselves, but culture or not, we all won't get along just based on various personalities, regardless of color or culture. I will be happy to provide you with a list of countries and/or cultures who hate us- blatantly hate and disrespect us and would do away with us- this being at their core and beliefs. Americans are treated like crap in many other countries and it is this exact form of self-importance and egocentrism that is bred into many Americans claiming they have no prejudice. You ignore your prejudice because you think no one would harm you in the great and wonderful America. Were you privvy to 9/11? Your statement on America being the most powerful nation is prejudice and a sign of egocentrism.
How many women have been hurt in a Swedish, Jewish, or lithuanian neigborhood compared to a ghetto?
My "gut reaaction" to my daughter having hives and puking, and being generally ill as a newborn was that the breast milk and formula were wrong for her. But my doctor said don't change anything, keep feeding her the same. Well, I've known doctors to be wrong on many occasions and it was my prejudice that doctors should be second guessed that led me to react on my gut instinct and put her on hypoallergenic formula. Within a day she was 100% fine. You, like the few others who think they are against or above prejudice, only apply it to race and culture, but it is in all areas about any group, situation, and so much more. If I had said to myself that all doctors know what they're doing and ignored my gut instinct and prejudice because doctors have been wrong many times, I may still have a sick child. The "fear" isn't daily terror, always worried everywhere we go, it's awareness. Part of awareness is using prejudice to evaluate things. When you feel fear, prejudice will be part of how you determine whether it truly is aa threat or not.
Obviusly you aren't a woman so you have no idea about gut instincts when you are a mother. You think gut instincts are a child not sharing a toy. Just like passengers on the plane that didn't quite make it to crash into the twin towers had a feeling about the terrorists taking over the plane. That feeling would have been acted on sooner if it were nowadays because we have already had that experience and now we are more aware- because of prejudice.
HubCrafter from Arizona on December 03, 2010:
I do hear and understand why sensible people use presuppositions for self protection.
But fear need not be our natural state. The likelihood of my being the personal victim of a terrorist attack is so remote...I'm more likely to win the Powerball Lottery when it's in the hundreds of millions.
So my fear of militants, Islamic folks or Pakistani cab drivers is totally unfounded by the real world.
Our fears are most often based on prejudices which are also un-founded.
The woman afraid to walk through a black neighborhood is a callback to the prejudice that black men rape white women. Would she also fear walking through a Jewish neighborhood? Swedish? Lithuanian?
The stereotypes that support unfounded fears are based on prejudices..most of which harken back to before we were born.
As far as "gut reactions" are concerned: every young child's "gut reaction" to sharing is "No! It's mine!" .
But children are trained to overcome their first thoughts (selfish thoughts) and learn to accept the socially more acceptable path called..sharing. Not a particularly popular thing among little kids, lol.
And so it can be with fears. By facing our fears we stand...able to act with courage and civility. By accepting our fears we capitulate; we shrink back from squaring up against them.
The risks against most Americans today from folks outside the country are miniscule. The fears and dread we face is mostly drummed up by the rodeo clowns in the media chasing bull shouting about how the sky is falling. It's hard to hear the birds in America. There's just too many Chicken Little's running around.
America is the most powerful nation in the world. We have no fear for any nation to do us serious harm.
America is a multi-cultural place. We need not fear the nations who live amongst us as friends and neighbors.
The greatest fear is the unknown. It is our personal prejudices that paint the picture of what the unknown might be. Funny, how it's always wrong about guessing the future.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 03, 2010:
Hubcrafter~ I like your example because it's a perfect example of prejudice used for bad and when it turns into a hateful act like that, it bcomes discrimination which I am not promoting at all. If you read my comments to others, you'll see that prejudice is natural and helpful, but how we choose to act on it is another thing. Prejudgment is not action, it's simply thoughts and feelings, some of which helps us stay aware in certain situations.
There's nothing patriotic about illegal immigrants. Wrongful treatment is not prejudice. Wrongful treatment can be based on prejudice if people don't gather the facts. I am stating in my hub that prejudice occurs like fear and it's naturally there, but we don't tend to act on it unless its necessary, thus a necessary evil. If you fear sharks you don't run around and kill them all, you would just stay away or be very alert when around them. I've given this example many times- maybe as a man you can't relate but hear me out. I am not fearful of black men, but put me in a ghetto walking down a dark street and guess who I am keeping my eye out for. But first, that prejudice will also probably keep me from walking down a dark street in a ghetto. Who's to say that's wrong? That's smart, not ignorant.
Your King George example is great because it shows how people have evolved into thinking before acting but still being aware/prejudice is natural and smart. Now it helps us to stay aware rather than act silly like King George did. I'm not saying all people maintain their prejudice as a warning system or discretion because I know people turn it into much more and they do act on it.
Maybe you don't have to worry about being prejudice or fearful because the people who protect you do it every day to keep you safe. You can thank your military and police for that.
If you get honest with yourself, you willrealize you react with prejudice with certain people and especially with certain situations. I have a prejudice that elders drive slow so I stay away from the known streets they take. Am I harming them? Am I being a bully? No.
America? The schoolyard bully? Well, Since when do we stand for a doormat? We have a right to protect ourselves and from that comes prejudice.
How you choose to act on your prejudice is when it becomes helpful or hurtful. Prejudice itself is a gut reaction, then we apply further knowledge,discretion,etc, which does not make us ignorant.
HubCrafter from Arizona on December 03, 2010:
"Perhaps our prejudice for that culture is based on what is necessary to protect ourselves. I worry someday that Americans will be more afraid to believe they are prejudice than to act on a justifiable fears or instincts."
Ah the pendulum swings of Society.
"Prejudice" means to "pre-judge". Now this "jumping to conclusions because..." seems to be a good thing, at least in current times.
Once upon a century or two ago, there was a British King (named George). He got mad at American colonists (merchants) for not paying their royalty taxes on rum and tea (staples in colonial America...big business for both sides of the atlantic).
So King George sent British troops into Boston to find the merchants and the rest of that "rabble" who dumped British cargo overboard as a protest against His Majesty's tax.
The King's troops found some the American dealers in rum and tea; broke into their homes; trashed the place looking for contriband; arrested men, women and children; some of whom got shipped back to Britain for trial.
How did the British troops decide which houses to break into?
-The people looked like prosperous merchants.
So the troops took their prejudice against merchants as a guide telling them who to oppress and imprison.
Despite the cleverness of the logic in your hub...prejudice is still wrong.
Prejudice catches up the innocent with the evil. It punishes both. There's nothing brave about King George imprisoning folks because they look like merchants.
There's nothing warm and patriotic about exchanging fear of immigrants or outsiders for prejudice and wrongful treatment. Since when does America stand for the schoolyard bully?...ignorant and proud of his prejudice against the weak.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on December 02, 2010:
manwithnopants~ oh boy you crack me up! inyour address to adagio, you say don't read my stuff you'll have a stroke. Ha funy, but true. I spend a lot of time in my head, lucky or unlucky for me hmmmm... and I get really realy with myself. I consider myself to have had so many different experiences in my life I couldn't possibly feel one way or another about anything at any given time. I don't sit around and think about hating anything or anybody in particular, but I started to notice in my life when in certain situations I have in fact had prejudices and when they arose I acknowledged them. I see people around that go overboard and are completely inauthentic to others to prove they are not prejudice- it looks ridiculous. I thought to myself why not accept this part of us and use it just for our protection when necessary. It isn't bad in my terms.
jcarr1164 mentioned as a military man, he had to profile and be prejudice in certain circumtances for the sake of saving his life and protecting himself. Police have been doing it a very long time as well. I am just trying to turn something that we think of as negative into a reality and something that is actually helpful or positive if it protects us. I have a saying, and if you spent enough time around me you'd get sick of it, but I tell people in almost any case- "use your power for good, not evil". We all have power- words, looks, money anything can be powerful and can be construed as good or evil. Prejudice is also this- use it for good and it could save your life, use it for bad and it can get ugly.
Thanks for "pulling my ponytail". Hey how'd you know I wore a ponytail today? lol.
Christopher Price~ Yes, I tackle these touchy topics sometimes and I know most of my loyal readers know me fairly well and know my intent is not for harm- at all. I really explore my mind and am always honest with myself and lately I noticed in some situations prejudice comes up, but I didn't view it as bad, it was just there, and I realized it could be used for good if it protected us and we applied some logic to it because it's very instinctual. I read up on this subject and found many people acknowledge feelings of prejudice and these are not any particular kind of person who believes police and the military use prejudice to protect themselves in many situations. I realized, for myself, when it instinctually comes up, I acknowledge it and begin to collect more info and feelings about what's going on and why I am alerted toward something or somebody. As you said- rise above our animal instincts. I certainly agree!
I really struggle to not be your wife, but I do the same thing too often. I strive to be like your way of thinking.
And thanks for calling me brave- I liked that, made my day really.
Christopher Price from Vermont, USA on December 01, 2010:
Well Laura, you knew you kicked the hornet's nest with this one!
You are right, prejudice is a survival thing, a trait all species use as a shortcut method of analyzing a situation to avoid potential dangers or discomforts.
Instict, education and experience contribute so we recognize things we would better steer clear of.
Animals recognize a predatory posture and take it as a cue to run. Birds leave a certain butterfly alone because it has evolved to resemble a Monarch butterfly which tastes terrible to birds. The birds have developed a prejudice and the false Monarchs take advantage.
Body language, clothing and facial expressions direct us when we do something as simple as choose which person on the street to ask for directions. Given a group of senior citizens we avoid the prune-faced frowning character and approach the pleasant looking grinning Granny because we pre-judged the situation.
The thing is, we humans generaly aspire to rise above our animal instincts and primal urges. We seek to be rational, open minded, tolerant and to not jump to conclusions.
I site this example: My wife, no matter how often she gets burned, insists on believing the best of people...that they are basically good-hearted and honest. On the other hand, I tell her that I assume all people are a**holes until they prove different...and I am far less often disappointed.
Prejudice may be abhorant,but it can be handy!
We can't deny our predispositions, but we can endeavor to limit the influence they have in our lives. The first step in dealing with an undesirable trait is to recognize it's existance.
Thanks for braving this touchy subject.
TheManWithNoPants from Tucson, Az. on November 30, 2010:
Laura, of course I agree. The person who says they have no prejudice is a liar. What's important is that you minimize (oops there's that word) and control pregudice to the point that it's a productive thing. I know what you're saying, I just had to pull your pony tail!
TheManWithNoPants from Tucson, Az. on November 30, 2010:
To begin with, justificationism isn't a word. You missed the whole point, and while doing it you lumped the author and all the rest of us into one pile. That's what you seem to be against.
I'm all about putting issues aside that divide our country. That's what my organization stands on. In a perfect world profiling would be bad, and socialism would be good, but this isn't a perfect world. This is the real world. If you find yourself sitting on an airplane next to someone wearing a turbine and wrapped in a sheet, and you don't have just a teeny bit of aprehension, you are truly special. Fear and paranoia are two different things. Fear is necessary to survival. The Bible teaches us about healthy fear.
I know the person who wrote this hub. She is intelligent, educated, and has a heart as big as Wyoming. Read between the lines and you'll find she's onto something here. She's genuine and has a lot of guts for coloring outside the box.
If you debate me, do so line by line, and don't color it with ideologys. I imagine you are a pretty decent person, but your tone is arrogant I'm sorry to say. By the way, don't read my stuff, you'll have a stroke.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 30, 2010:
manwithnopants~ I think I'm referring to number two on your list of definitions. Either way, I want people to get honest and realize they do form prejudice about everything. Every time they walk into a situation or with someone, we all preconceived ideas. The definitions entail "unreasonable" and that's another one of my points is that it is unreasonable and 99% of a human's perception or instinct on anything is unreasonable, but that doesn't make it not exist. I'm still maintaining that prejudice exists in everybody and I go back to psychology's discussion on categorizing just so life is manageable. Categories in our heads about almost everything fits into good or bad- both fall nito prejudice.
And prayer sent my friend...
adagio4639~ People have such a narrow-minded view of prejudice that it's only about black folks or it's only about hate or bad- not true on either account. Prejudice exists in all of us and if we ignore it, it can turn into worse things. You act as if I've said discrimination is OK and I haven't done that.
You can't possibly tell me you have no prejudice on anything or when meeting anybody or when walking into a situation. You walk into everything with a blank, and open mind. Sorry, but I've had way to much psychology courses pointing to every human nature or subconscious decision is based on prejudice. I'm trying to convince people to pay attention to that prejudice, because it's there whether you think you are too good for it or not.
On fear- human nature's top priority is to avoid pain and in order to do so, we have all sorts of fears wound up in our brain and most have stemmed from prejudice. I['m not saying prejudice is right, but it exists in all of us all the time. It's one more mechanism in order to survive. You say prejudice breed contempt and feeds hatred, only if you've not acknowledged your prejudice and it turns into discrimination or bigotry, but if it is utilized as part of natural fear, then it can help us or save our lives. I mentioned earlier to someone else that I have no fear of a black man, but put me in the middle of a ghetto down a dark street and guess who I'm keeping an eye out for. I'm not thinking 'oh my I don't want to be prejudice, I'm reacting to my natural instinct to protect myself. We aren't going to mesh as a country because fact is we all aren't going to get along, if not for racial, cultural or religious or whatever reasons, then just personality alone. I'm not going to walk up to guys who look like gangsters all in blue bandannas and be friends with them. Not based on anything else other than what I've read is that there are gangs called the crypts who wear blue bandannas and are violent so just that assumption, or prejudice, will keep me away from that group, which may be a good idea for survival. I'm not living in fear, I'm just following human nature and avoiding pain to seek out pleasure so that my prejudices guide my path because they are part of human nature.
If we all got honest about it without the fear of appearing prejudice then we could have some honest discussions and move forward. Tose who fear appearing prejudice are the ones living in fear all the time because you are denying a very natural aspect of human nature.
jtcarr1164 from Tueplo, Mississippi on November 30, 2010:
I gave this an up and an awesome. How have I not found you before now?! This hub is fascinating and incredible!
I just finished an intro to Philosophy class that scratched the surface of what you are talking about. I am bookmarking this one!
You are awesome!
adagio4639 on November 30, 2010:
>"Typical characteristic of whites is to oppress – they are born with the idea that they have superior rights on this earth; typical of the Indians is to be shrewd, unpredictable and cruel; typical of blacks is their idea that everything belong to them, and if not given to them, it should be unscrupulously taken by them.... and so we can go on and on."<
It seems to me here that you have just illustrated the definition of stereotyping.
I may have a prejudice or bias to the Bears over the Packers, or Auburn over Alabama, that's hardly the same as a racial prejudice that so far all I'm seeing here in the article and the comments, is a lot of what is called justificationism. What justifies the prejudice toward an entire race for the actions of a small selection of that group?
The author of; "In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas." seems to me to be looking for justification for his own prejudice in order to make himself feel good about something that is actually unjustifiable. All whites are not out to oppress people, all blacks can't dunk, all Jews aren't rich, and all muslims aren't terrorists. Broad sweeping generalizations are simply logical fallacies that allow people to feed their own fears and feel justified in doing so. It also breeds contempt and feeds hatred.In fact, we can see it politically dividing the country today. All conservatives are dumb rednecks and all liberals are traitors and anti-American. How does adding to the already existing polarization in this country by fanning the flames of prejudice provide a benefit to us as a nation? Frankly the idea of living in fear is not very appealing as a political position.
TheManWithNoPants from Tucson, Az. on November 30, 2010:
I have no idea where the two added Jims came from. How embarrising. (laughing)
TheManWithNoPants from Tucson, Az. on November 30, 2010:
That's what I love about you sis! You truly are my female twin.
I'm not disagrreeing with you. Actually I'm just adding to your take I think Laura. Let's take this one a bit further. Okey? I'm talking about prejudice one word. and you're talking about healthy prejudice, two words. I would argue that healthy prejudice is an oxy moran.
prej·u·dice? ?/?pr?d??d?s/ Show Spelled
[prej-uh-dis] Show IPA
noun, verb, -diced, -dic·ing.
1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
3. unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group
I agree with everything you say. It's just a play on words. I just don't think we're talking prejudice in this situation. I think we need to come up with a new word for it. ummmmmm .. how's bout prejulation? That's it! I'm inclined to be very prejulated these days.
In any case, I love your stuff, and this was good. Hope everything's going well your way. I've had a tragedy happen in my life. I'll tell you about it sometime in a different venue. Send up a generic prayer for me kid!
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 30, 2010:
Jim~ You talk about human nature and all I'm saying prejudice is part of human nature. If we accept and acknowledge it, willing to even change it as applicable, then it doesn't turn into negative forms beyond prejudice, like discrimination or bigotry. Prejudices are changeable, they aren't concrete like bigotry.
When i talk of prejudice, I know that people base their fear off of that and fear can protect us so prejudice within us should not be ignored.
I'm really wanting to emphasize prejudice under certain circumstances. An African American man does not evoke one ounce of fear in me, but put me in the ghetto walking down a dark street and guess who I'm going to keep a look out for. My best friend is mid-eastern Indian and she doesn't scare me- especially being a little 5' thing. BUT put me next to an anxious man wearing a turbin on a plane and that's a whole other ball of wax. I'm just saying we react to different circumstance depending on our prejudices and those prejudices can be right or wrong, but should not be ignored and thrown off the shelf and be ashamed of our human nature.
You haven't experienced brakes failing on a Toyota or a Muslim whose threatened you, but you still have a certain amount of fear connected to them and that fear comes directly from prejudice.
Prejudice can be changed and that is the difference between it and the bad ones like discrimination and bigotry. I used to be scared of skinhead type guys because I grew up in a town where they dominated and those guys are worse than gangs in my opinion- they're ruthless. Back then I would have stayed away from any guy with combat boots and a bunch of tattoos and a shaved head. But I don't react that way to one anymore because I've had a lot of time and distance from those memories.
I'm not saying we are always right about our prejudices- most things we fear will never come to fruition and most things we have prejudices about will not harm us, but even you aren't taking thechances on the things you've mentioned like Toyotas and 42nd street.
Interesting conversation and glad you joined in.
TheManWithNoPants from Tucson, Az. on November 30, 2010:
I writing this second comment because I got to thinking about this thing some more .. and you. I consider you a friend, and I've gotten to know you pretty well over the last five months or so. Pregudice just doesn't square with your make up, so I had to make some sense of it all. I love your hub. Like all of your work, it makes folks think, but you may be just one degree off the mark on this one. Make that a half a degree. The possibility that I may be goofier than hell also exists.
When Toyota had the problem with Gas pedals sticking, sales went down. No one thought all Toyotas were bad, but no one knew which one's were which. When specific actions are tied to a specific person, group. or thing, human nature takes over. In the case of Muslims, that human nature is fear and self preservation. If three people get shot in three months driving down 42nd Street, guess what. You can bet I'm looking for another route home. I don't think all the people living on 42nd street killers and hate them. I'm just putting some distance between me and 42nd until they get the bad guys. I'm not pregudice againt Toyotas, Muslims, or folks on 42nd Street, but I'm not hanging with any of them until they get their act together.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 30, 2010:
tonymac04~ first, thank you for being respectful. You talk about acting on prejudice, but that is technically discrimination and I wouldn't support that at all. Prejudice is just pre-judgment and we can change it at any given time. Sometimes it is based on illogical assumptions and sometimes not. That's for us to decipher.
"We all make decisions based on what we know and how we feel about what we know. That is normal" I would disagree here that we don't "know" anything. What we think we know is just assumptions and prejudice because it's based on our feeling sand experiences which are very subjective.
Prejudice has a few different definitions that I came across, but the definition you site is true in a way that it is not based on reason. Most of what we fear does not come to fruition, but ignoring our prejudice in certain circumstances can only take one time to be fatal.
I think prejudice that stems from the media and peers is less logical, like the Muslim example you gave. I think our experiences are the best source.
The lady in your article example is just plain discriminating. One such definition of discrimination is 'unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice'. I want to emphasize 'on the basis of prejudice'. Prejudice is not discrimination but it can stem from it. THat's why I say prejudice can change depending on how we form new opinions and new experiences.
That is discrimination and that is wrong/evil.
We always walk into a situation involving people with prejudice. It's what we do with that prejudice and that's what I'm trying to point out here. It should not be ignored, and can be revised and even protect us at times.
Hschneider said in his comment that we don't address prejudices, even an incident with our president and having a beer with that cop. We slip everything under the rug afraid to talk about or address prejudices. If you notice, we are growing more politically correct as a nation yet there are just as many prejudices out there and worse, discrimination. It's because prejudice, the basis of what can be good or evil is not discussed openly.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 30, 2010:
Nellieanna~ great points and I couldn't have said it better myself. Everything you mentioned is also applied to the people and groups we meet in life. But it's most important to not be rigid, like you said, in any case of judgment.
Elefanza~ Crash is one of my favorite movies because it's more than about prejudice, but somewhat about how events in our life can be connected to others in ways we can't imagine. Thanks for the encouragment on the books.
Joe Barnett~ I really do see your point of view. And you picked up on stating that innate prejudice is toward people. Often it is, at least what I'm mostly talking about here. We learn through experiences and also influenced by peers and media. I think what I'm getting at is to not ignore our natural tendency toward prejudice, but rather be willing to easily change our minds and form different opinions. Often the prejudice is combined with feelings of fear already there. If a woman has been attacked in a dark alley by a guy, she will feel nervous about being in dark alleys already, then add a guy to that scenario and she will be on alert, which might be good. I find that prejudice depends on the circumstance like sitting next to a man in turban on a plane- I might naturally be nervous because of all the media, etc. The statement I'm trying to make is that fear isn't bad and sometimes saves our lives, if we ignore it that can be worse, and fear usually stems from prejudice. You get fear from somewhere so where else would say it comes from? Prejudice is certainly nothing that keeps folks of all walks of life from getting together- things like bigotry and discrimination (refusing to be flexible on prejudice and acting on it in harmful ways) are what brings society down. In my opinion prejudice can be changed, the others can not or are not willing.Always a great discussion Joe!
Christoph~ Thanks for your comment and I'm learning a lot from others too about ther perceptions. Interesting stuff.
Tony McGregor from South Africa on November 30, 2010:
I enjoyed the read and have to say I disagree, respectfully, with you. Prejudice is a judgement of another person based not on facts but on assumptions which might not be correct. So we see a Muslim person and assume that because they are Muslim they are a terrorist. This is dangerous on two levels. Firstly because it might lead us to ignore the real terrorist who is not a Muslim, or doesn't "look" like a Muslim. And so we get blown up, or whatever.
Secondly it is dangerous because we might treat a very peaceful, well-meaning person as a terrorist and turn them into someone with a grudge against us.
I agree that we have to be aware of potential threats, of that there is no doubt. However, to act on prejudice alone is not right, nor safe.
We all make decisions based on what we know and how we feel about what we know. That is normal.
Prejudice is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience" and the "unjust behaviour formed on such a basis."
The same dictionary gives the definition of bigot as "a person who is prejudiced in their views and intolerant of the opinions of others."
Interesting that just today an article in the local newspaper tells of a local author who, in an interview, said, “I don’t like black people.” She went on to say, “I don’t understand them! ... I know they are people just like me. I know they have the same rights as me. But I do not understand them. And then I do not like them. I avoid them because I am scared of them."
That is prejudice, and that is an evil, and a totally unnecessary one. That is the "fear of the stranger" that Joe Barnett mentioned in his comment above.
Thanks for the interesting read.
Love and peace
Christoph Reilly from St. Louis on November 29, 2010:
I like your separating prejudice and bigotry, and I think your right that prejudice can be misunderstood, because of this association, and they are not always related. I also see your notion that it is our prejudices that help us to react in certain situations that can help us avoid danger. Very thoughtful writing!
JOE BARNETT on November 29, 2010:
with this being the definition
An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.
instinctive predjudice comes from whatever base it is that you pull from,fear or dislike but,arbitrarily fabricated. any predjudice beyond that is taught so as to "create" fear or dislike. an instinctive predjudice would create awareness which would eventually eliminate the predjudice. you would see that the view was based on nothing however, the taught predjudice would only work as a self fullfilling prophesy and this would be reciprocated which would only snowball it.
then this is what i found. i found predjudice only to be towards people.
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 or when groups intermarry. so based on that i don't think it's a necessary evil.
Elefanza from Somewhere in My Brain on November 29, 2010:
Another excellent hub! This just reminded me that I have to finish watching the movie Crash -- I was kind of busy when I first tried watching it. I remember in my one psychology course how interesting it was to learn that we do stereotype and it's a natural tendency that protects our mind from being overwhelmed with a lot of information (as you mentioned). I also saw a documentary of some kind where it showed possible evidence for how the first snap judgments people made about others turned out to be right. I'm glad you addressed the most vexing part in that in our culture's determination to be politically correct, we sometimes don't like to look past what our accepted answer of right is. BTW, I happened to notice you are working on getting two books published...how awesome! You'll have to let me know when they get published so I can go out and buy them! :)
Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on November 29, 2010:
Very good, interesting, valuable and thought-provoking hub, izettl. Definitely gets my high marks!
Certainly to have some pre-conceived expectations does not mean one cannot be open to exceptions and ready to accept new evidence. It is bigotry which must be questioned, - that state of mind when no matter who an individual IS who happens to be of a certain category, no matter how "otherwise" the person is, nor how much the other changes even personal objectionable behavior, the bigot will give no benefit of doubt nor deign to cast a clear look to see the PERSON or group beyond his own fixed ideas.
There is another word with a similar "bad rap" which I've championed. That is the word "discrimination". Of course we discriminate! If we prefer beef to chicken, blue to pink, Fords to Chevys, jeans to corduroys, we are simply discriminating. If we value good manners over churlishness and clean houses over dirty ones, we are discriminating. It is when discrimination, like bigotry, becomes so rigid that no exception can be made, no 'further look" and consideration can be given, that it is unreasonable and becomes detrimental. And it is especially detrimental when the favoritism involves one's children or in other relationships in which damaging psychological harm is done to a person due to being less-valued. This can be a delicate balance, because children have individual differences and may not all be lovable in identical ways. But each can be valued and loved for who he or she IS.
It's a bit like an old adage - to "be moderate about everything, including moderation" ! ha - ha Certainly a person needs to be alert and aware of the present situations and not be merely charging forth relying on rigid, fixed and often, blind, preconceptions.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 29, 2010:
American Romance~ thanks for your comment.
Fred Allen~ Yes, I agree with you. Sometimes I can't help but tackle tough topics, but I want people to be aware and also be educated about what they can do with a natural tendency for prejudice with almost everything in our lives.Thanks for stopping by.
thougforce~ most people automatically relate prejudice as always something racial, but it's not and doesn't have to be. There's some white folk out there too that I have prejudgements against, but things constantly change in our perception and we revise our prejudices as needed. Hanging onto a prejudice without reason is not healthy. THanks for stopping by.
Tamarajo~ well my favorite quote by you was your last comment there- it was perfectly stated. "We just need to keep in mind to never let our "categorizing" become reasons to hate, belittle, or dehumanize."
Opinionduck~ I completely agree with you- yeah FBI is getting more credit on the news than they should be but that's media. We are on alert, as a nation, and that's due to prejudices which may serve us well to have, but only time and facts and gathered info will tell. As always I love your strong discussions and opinion- thanks for being part of the conversation.
Martie~ awesome to see and reminds me I need to update myself on your latest hubs. I think your comment is exactly the point I'm trying to make. Well said!
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 29, 2010:
Old poolman~ yes, I agree with how prejudice was formed and comes natural to us. I think of prejudice as a first step to what can be many outcomes. We all categorize people and situations. I would feel more comfortable with a woman walking behind me in a dark alley than a man- that's my prejudgement that women are less harmful (possibly). We do it with all said groups- races, sex, religion, etc. What I want to clarify is that prejudice is necessary- as you say the time we live in right now, but even before now. Segregating is based on prejudice, but the act itself is discrimination, which I think is a negative outcome of prejudice. Prejudice can have positive outcomes and be a type of warning system to us then upon that we can gather facts,etc. Intresting conversation this has turned into.Thanks for the comment. I view prejudice as having helped me in many scenarios in my life, but simultaneously I have close friendships with many people of different race, sex, and religions. I gues what I'm trying to say is prejudice is natural and we can use it for good or bad.
breakfastpop~ I think prejudice in combination with getting the facts is the best way to use our natural tendency to pre-judge. Thanks for stopping by.
dahoglund~ I think prejudice IS a healthy caution- like I said to someone else. I would feel safer walking down a dark alley with a woman behind me rather than a man. That a prejudgement that women are less harmful than men, but I could be right and that's where I take caution.
HSchneider~ great comment and I'll have to read that hub. Thanks.
A.A Zavala~ thanks for the comment. Hubpages sends a message to you and there is a link to see where that hub was copied to. I just can't believe they were completely copied and that all were Indian sites. I had to file a complaint with Google because they had advertisement on their sites so if they do, Google will make them take it down.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 29, 2010:
richtwf~ I agree with your whole comment and that's really the point I'm trying to make is that prejudice can exist within us instinctually but we need to take the next steps to find out the facts before we can judge a situation or person. It seems prejudice has gotten a bad reputation, but it really doesn't have to be used in a bad way. I also agree with your statement about the media and hollywood's warped portrayal of things.
mwnp~ hey I just saw your comment at the every top. Now you must think I'm ignoring you. Truth be told, I am reading and writing up a storm lately. I will turn my focus to you very soon, but I am glad to hear you putting things into fruition and action! I need to do the same. I need to get my two books I'm working on sent out and I've been working hard on that lately. Anyway, I had to write this hub because of the car bomber caught at Portland's tree lighting ceremony. SOme people stated he looked out of place, etc. and I think people were afraid to be prejudice because of his color and nationality. I want people to acknowledge fear and prejudice, but also build on it with facts, etc.
Martie Coetser from South Africa on November 29, 2010:
Izette – This is exactly what prejudice is - "categorizing". We categorize snakes, spiders, lions, tigers, baboons, etc. as dangerous. We have to do that in order to protect ourselves.
There are certain common characteristics in the people of a nation – regardless of their color – that forces us to categorize the whole nation. Typical characteristic of whites is to oppress – they are born with the idea that they have superior rights on this earth; typical of the Indians is to be shrewd, unpredictable and cruel; typical of blacks is their idea that everything belong to them, and if not given to them, it should be unscrupulously taken by them.... and so we can go on and on.
To suppress our tendency to categorize, to stop being prejudicial, is one of the hardest things to do, because it means making ourselves vulnerable and open targets to whoever wants to harm us. I think practicing prejudice should be only a self-protecting tendency and not a tendency to humiliate, disregard and destroy others.
Great hub, voted UP and UP!
PS: I've just read the other comments - It seems to me that we are all very much in agreement with this issue.
OpinionDuck on November 29, 2010:
This is not an incident of prejudice, even remotely.
If a fair amount of muslims are terrorists, and we have deadly proof of that, we should consider tracking any suspicious persons, including muslims.
In the Oregon incident it was the muslims at the mosque that contacted the FBI about his strange behavior.
Homeland Security and the FBI were not smart enough to find this plot on their own. So that gives you and idea on how safe they are keeping us, nine years after 911.
This political correctness is going to kill a lot of people.
Tamarajo on November 29, 2010:
There is a huge difference between a prejudice born of hatred and a prejudice that is as you say instinctive and protective as described in psychology as categorizing.
I was recently listening to a radio program where an overweight man was profiled and investigated because earlier that day a different overweight person was detained for concealing a weapon in the folds of his excess. There was no malice in selecting him but there was now a heightened awareness of how someone might conceal a weapon.
Its not to assume that every person that is heavy will do this but it is now a consideration previously not suspected.
You are correct it is wisdom to weigh and balance situations at times based on previous knowledge or experience.
"Perhaps our prejudice for that culture is based on facts necessary to protect ourselves. I worry someday that Americans will be more afraid to believe they are prejudice than to act on a justifiable fears or instincts."
We just need to keep in mind to never let our "categorizing" become reasons to hate, belittle, or dehumanize.
Christina Lornemark from Sweden on November 29, 2010:
I don´t think prejudice is the same as racial discrimination. I can feel a bit nervous about white people that look as if they protest aginst the whole world too. It is more a survival instinct, not about religion or skin color. Great hub, as always from you!
fred allen from Myrtle Beach SC on November 29, 2010:
A certain ammount of prejudice is included in "common sense" Going beyond that is bigotry. I love the way you handled this subject.
American Romance from America on November 29, 2010:
Interesting, and good observation, I agree with Pop and Poolman both,
Augustine A Zavala from Texas on November 29, 2010:
Good hub! I tend to agree that we all have heuristics that we use to determine, -quickly-, whether someone or something could be dangerous to us. Some base it on race, others base it on behavior/dress/actions. How did you find out about the indian sites copying your hubs? What did you do about it?
Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on November 29, 2010:
I don't think a healthy cautionis quite the same as prejudice.
Howard Schneider from Parsippany, New Jersey on November 29, 2010:
Very insightful Hub Izzetl. You are right that everyone has prejudice of all different sorts. This is only natural. We are faced constantly with many different experiences that we must adjust to. This often leads to a bias against something or someone. This can be good or bad. From there bigotry and intolerance against a certain group may develop. I wrote a Hub about this. My major premise is that it is natural and we must always be honest with ourselves and discuss this with others. The media loves to latch on to incidents and mine them for ratings. They never really delve into what underlies the incident. Examining our prejudices and being honest will help guard us from becoming bigoted and intolerant. You did this wonderfully and you obviously understand your feelings and sharing with others. That's what is important I believe.
breakfastpop on November 29, 2010:
Fascinating piece of writing. Is it prejudice or the accumulation of knowledge that puts us on guard? Whatever you wish to call it, it exists and it isn't blind. it is born of a proliferation of incidents that taken together put us on guard. If it makes us safer, so be it.
Old Poolman on November 29, 2010:
hi izzy, Another very interesting hub from one of my favorite hub writers.
My opinion, and lord knows I have a bunch of them, prejudice is something we and most animals were born with. It is a survival instinct imbedded in the brain at birth. What I mean by that is we humans, and animals, tend to stay within our own kind, and are wary of anyone who appears to be "different". Deer don't associate with wolves, at least for very long, and they know this. Racial prejudice was usually taught in the home and passed down from generation to generation. The Army was segregated between black and white for years. Fortunately, my parents were the opposite and taught us that prejudice is just wrong. Because of this, I have been able to make many friends with people of other races and cultures over my many years.
Now because of all the things going on in the world, we are once again getting very "suspicious" of anyone "different" than us. More of a type-casting situation than prejudice I think.
Great hub and certainly thought provoking.
richtwf on November 29, 2010:
Prejudice - a very interesting subject and I enjoyed reading this hub.
It's so easy for us to pre-judge or mis-judge individuals and we can easily and unfairly categorise someone if we're not careful but there are some in the line of their duty that have to be extremely vigilant and aware of certain individuals with criminal intent. If we judge someone correctly based on firm evidence then fine but if we misjudge someone because of unsound evidence then we're liable to be criticised for not being able to do our job properly or because we're prejudiced. A fine line between being the good guy and the bad guy.
Hollywood doesn't always help either. The industry can inadvertently reinforce prejudices. If most of us are open-minded then it's not so much of a problem but if not then a lot more people can suffer because of the influence of films related to a specific group of people.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
L Izett (author) from The Great Northwest on November 28, 2010:
I'm really referring to it all, not specifically racial though- prejudice in general. I really took a hard look at the movie Crash many years ago when it came out and the scene in which I took the quotes at the beginning of the hub from can be viewed in several ways. First, you have a white woman surrounded by white people on a busy street and she is fearful of two black men. Her fear is, in a way, racial prejudice, but the fear is tied into an internal system of instinct, perhaps a "feeling" about them. In reality she should be fearful because the two black men were armed and planning a crime. THe two black men think why should she be fearful of us when we are surrounded by white folks- they are the minority. Perhaps also the woman thought they were out of place. Often prejudice is not only prejudice, but rather fear, instinct, past experiences all rolled into one.
I don't believe I am racially prejudice, but because of recent events on the news 24/7 I might be a little more aware of sitting next to an mid-eastern Indian on a plane. It's just a gut reaction and only a precursor to something more if anything else is out of the ordinary about the person. Hence, why it's called pre-judging, it occurs before we can properly evaluate a situation or person- like I said, it's almost instinct.
I think prejudice is just part of a recipe for being aware, alert, and using it contsructively. I don't want people to deny gut instincts that originate from prejudice.
Acting on prejudice in the wrong way is definitely discrimination and should not be tolerated. But I don't want to get too much into the different definitions people have of prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping.
Save a Starbuck's for me!
JOE BARNETT on November 28, 2010:
hi izzy. always thought provoking. i didn't get to read it all but are we talking about predjudice or racial predjudice? we somewhat pre judge our environment because it acts in one way. fire, cold, fur,or a warm bath always react the same. we fear a lot on this planet and the basis for racial predjudice is due to a narrow, ill concieved view spread to create fear and separate. stereotypes are created first to validate the predjudice. i'm hurrying through this . tell me if i'm wrong. i'll be back. this is interesting.i'll bring starbucks
TheManWithNoPants from Tucson, Az. on November 28, 2010:
Excellent work izettl. The boys up in Boston are busy building the Housefire Project web site, but I've got the simple little "themanwithnopants.com" thing. I've got a place called politics and links in the No Pants thing, and would like to put in a link to your last piece on the economy. As you know I really liked it. If you find a moment, let me know.