Prejudice is like a virus. It harms its victims, and people can be unaware that they are infected.
People can be prejudiced not only toward those of another nationality, race, tribe, or language but also toward those of a different religion, gender, or social class. Some judge people negatively based on their age, education, disabilities, or physical appearance. Yet, they still feel that they are not prejudiced.
Could you be infected with prejudice? Most of us can recognize prejudice in others. But it may be difficult to see prejudice in ourselves. The truth is that all of us are prejudiced to some degree. When people think about a group negatively and then meet someone from that group, says sociology professor David Williams, “they will treat that person differently and honestly not know that they did it.”
For example, in the Balkan country where Jovica lives, there is a minority group. “I thought that no one in that group could be a good person,” he admits. “But I did not think that I was prejudiced. ‘After all,’ I told myself, ‘this is simply a fact.’”
Many governments pass laws to fight racism and other forms of prejudice. Nevertheless, prejudice continues. Why? Because those laws only address a person’s actions. They cannot control a person’s thoughts and feelings. And prejudice starts in a person’s mind and heart. Is the fight against prejudice, then, a losing battle? Does a cure for prejudice exist?
The following articles will discuss five principles that have helped many people combat prejudice in their own minds and hearts.