The Ramblings of My Brain

Where Does Prejudice Come From?


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


Author: staircase2

The fight for equality is always marked by the shining of light onto the darkness of ignorance and fear

2 thoughts on “Where Does Prejudice Come From?

  1. So well said Stephe, and “this skews our world view” sentence is a real call to get out and “get a life!”:) I remember reading works by Gregory Herek and others, on stigma and sexual orientations, and his studies showed that it is from a narrow (minded) wold view pre-judgement of others builds up. However, the opposite – getting out and getting a life, in modern idiom – means challenging one’s pre-judgements, stereotypes and stigmas simply by meeting the very people that one had hitherto marked in a discrediting way. Great read: thanks. David

    • The issue is kinda like asking people who’ve never seen green to appreciate the colour of a well kept lawn…
      That’s why Education is equally vital, as is MEDIA Education at school

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