What’s the definition of prejudice and tips to overcome and keep it under control. Is it normal to have prejudice feelings and thoughts and does it make us bad people for having them?
It’s to have a negative opinion that is not based on facts, past experiences and/or rational thinking.
It’s a preconceived opinion that comes from many parts of a person’s personality and personal experiences which doesn’t necessarily reflect reality or truth.
Prejudice comes in many forms, a person can be prejudice of others for the following differences. Race, religion, class, the way someone dresses, whether someone has tattoos or just specific ways someone looks or acts.
Prejudice is simply negative generalizations/stereotyping, black and white thinking which are types of faulty thinking/cognitive distortions. The mind can only deal with so much information that it has to generalize to speed up peoples thinking and decision making. This is an automated unconscious process. If we are ignorant to something our brains fill in the gaps.
People like others who are similar to them
Everyone has certain built in automated programmed responses. One of these automated responses is that we like people who are similar to us, this is because we as humans associate similarities with safety. “That person is safe because they are like me” this is unconsciously what our brains are telling us.
So if someone is different than us in some way it can trigger a defensive reaction, we may fear them, therefore we dislike them, a potential threat. Again this is a built in survival response that our minds automatically do.
We also tend to project positive qualities onto people that we like, and in turn project negative qualities on to those that we dislike. Which adds more fuel to that negativity fire, possibly increasing any prejudice feelings.
So if you factor in these two automated responses we can end up with someone being prejudice to someone who’s different than themselves.
Being prejudice is actually a very natural defensive human survival response, born out of fear and the unknown. It maybe natural, but if it grows out of control it can be problematic for individuals and societies.
How to overcome and control your prejudices
Unconscious (id) vs Conscious (ego)
Within everyone there is a battle going on within our own minds, this is a battle between the unconscious mind and the conscious mind. Prejudice is allowed to flourish if we leave our minds on the unconscious auto pilot. If a person’s prejudices are too strong a person must take control with the conscious mind (ego) so rational thinking can take over and get the unconscious automated emotional responses under control.
Generalizations are fueled by ignorance. The less we know, our minds have to rely more on faulty thinking tactics, like generalizing and black and white thinking. Gaining knowledge allows your mind to see things more clearly and rationally and helps to prevent jumping to conclusions.
I wouldn’t bother with online prejudice tests. The ones I have seen seem to be based on extreme politically correct standards that will more than likely label you as prejudice for using common sense facts and observations.
Does having prejudice thoughts make you a bad person?
No it makes you human, it’s a silly question, it’s like asking if someone is a bad person for feeling the emotion fear.
Acting out on ignorance and discriminating based on that ignorance is a bad thing. However, what is considered good and bad, also what is prejudice and what is not is highly subjective, based on a persons feelings, experiences and level of knowledge.
Also before accusing someone of being prejudice make certain you are not being prejudice yourself by judging quickly, jumping to conclusions and perhaps projecting your negative qualities onto someone else.