I came to realise a short while ago that most prejudice is based on PERCEIVED knowledge (as opposed to actual real EXPERIENCED knowledge…)
For this reason, most people take as their starting point of ‘knowledge’ what they hear their family, colleagues, friends say about certain groups of people. They build up prejudices based on the stories they see presented in films, TV shows, plays, books, newspapers, media etc (all of which are ultimately fictional).
The reason for this is the way the human brain takes in and assimilates information; our subconscious perceives what we see in a film for example as ‘something we have experienced’ even though its a fabricated and fictional account of ‘reality’ – NOT reality…
This skews our world-view – ESPECIALLY if our REAL world-view (ie that which we have ACTUALLY experienced) is severely limited in scope.
It is very easy for opportunistic people to use this understanding to manipulate those who are less experienced, less educated and full of fear; Politicians and Church Leaders being prime examples of this.
That is why its fundamentally important that everything we see or experience (our news coverage, our books, plays, films, art and our media) should have even and balanced coverage of the people and stories told within them.
It is no longer acceptable to label certain groups or individuals as less or more than…It is no longer acceptable to believe that certain groups are inferior or superior to others…It is no longer acceptable to believe that we can tell the moral or intellectual worth of an individual merely by their skin colour or where they live, their race, their ethnicity, their relative poverty or wealth, their gender or gender identity, their sexuality, their nationality or their disability.
These things are unacceptable simply because they make no sense – no sense outside of a limited and fearful view of the world.
So where does prejudice come from? It comes from the stories we tell ourselves and the reality we do or don’t invest in them…
First published April 7th 2012 on my blog site http://staircase2.blogspot.co.uk/