Egotism can lead to prejudice. An egotistical person has an inflated opinion of his own worth. He views himself as superior and judges people who are different from him as being inferior. Anyone can fall into this trap. The Encyclopædia Britannica says: “Most [cultural] groups feel—to varying degrees of intensity—that their way of life, their foods, dress, habits, beliefs, values, and so forth, are superior to those of other groups.” How can we avoid this flawed way of thinking?
“With humility consider others superior to you.”—PHILIPPIANS 2:3.
What does it mean? To avoid excessive pride, we need to cultivate its opposite—humility. Humility allows us to recognize that in some areas of life others are superior. No one group has a monopoly on all good qualities and abilities.
Consider the example of Stefan. He grew up in a Communist country but overcame his feelings of prejudice against people from non-Communist countries. He says: “I believe that considering others as superior to you is important in counteracting prejudice. I don’t know everything. I can learn something from every person.”
What You Can Do
Try to have a realistic view of yourself and remain aware of your own failings. Acknowledge that others are strong in areas where you are weak. Do not assume that all people from a particular group have the same flaws.
Instead of drawing negative conclusions about a person who is from a particular group of people, ask yourself:
Acknowledge that others are strong in areas where you are weak
‘Are the traits that I dislike about that person actually bad, or are they just different?’
‘Could this person find faults in me?’
‘In what areas is this person more capable than I am?’
If you answer these questions honestly, you may not only overcome any prejudice you have but you may also find things to admire in that person.