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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: Are you Prejudiced?

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Are you Prejudiced?

Asking this question begs another question.
What is prejudice?
Dictionary.com definition: -
–noun
1.
an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
2.
any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
3.
unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.
4.
such attitudes considered collectively: The war against prejudice is never-ending.
5.
damage or injury; detriment: a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.
–verb (used with object)
6.
to affect with a prejudice, either favorable or unfavorable: His honesty and sincerity prejudiced us in his favor.

7.
without prejudice, Law . without dismissing, damaging, or otherwise affecting a legal interest or demand.

Recent press regarding the unfortunate remarks by Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray come to mind. For the most part, it seems the remarks were not said with the intention of being broadcast but I guess that is the downfall of being in the public eye. 

To explain my take on this, I'll make a food analogy. We all have preferences for the food we like. Some foods look appetising and to an individual do not taste so nice. I can remember being fooled as a school boy by swede (something I disliked) and took a large bite thinking that it was roast potato! 
Some foods adversely affect people because the individual may have a allergic reaction to it. Nuts for instance. Food does have (for the most part) warnings regarding nuts due to how some people react badly to it. There is benefit in placing that warning, however, we still have the ability to choose. If I dislike a certain food, I could express my opinion upon it, but it is only my opinion. That opinion will likely have little or no value to somebody else unless there is a general food warning such as nut allergies. 


So, to dislike something or somebody does not necessarily mean it will affect somebody else in the same way. It is simply our own personal experience. To second guess that the other person will witness the same experience as ourselves is to pre judge i.e. prejudice. Perhaps prejudice can be described as projecting our personal experience on to somebody else. This may be done for good or bad intent, however its motivation is to take away the ability for someone to come to their own conclusion. 


I can remember a time when I was about to start a college course and was told that the tutor was not very good by several people. Rather than be influenced by them, I chose to decide for myself how good the tutor was. As it happened, after much discernment. I realised that my own opinion reflected that of many others. I at least experienced that for myself. There were of course, some that found the college tutor helpful. 


I'm suggesting that it is wise to discern whether sharing an opinion on something or somebody serves a useful purpose.

  • Be prepared to allow others to make up their own minds.
  • If you are going to share an opinion, ensure that you express it as a personal opinion based on personal experience. 
  • Be cautious when expressing an opinion on a controversial subject, especially if it is likely to be broadcast to many. If you do, be prepared for the consequences!
  • Will your opinion serve a purpose? 
  • Sometimes, we are invited to express an opinion. This does have a purpose but there may still be consequences if the subject is controversial.
My final thoughts on the subject of Richard Keys and Andy Gray are that I suspect they were simply frustrated at what they saw as off side decision incorrectly made and in their frustration in trying to express their opinion, they latched onto a false sense of blame. That is something all too easy to do.

How often to we project unrelated blame on to an event that we are frustrated by and cannot understand? It is an attempt to understand that has false conclusions and unfortunate consequences. 
This is, of course, just my personal opinion! :-O


My older blogs relating to prejudice.
http://potatoehead64.blogspot.com/2007/10/3rd-september-2006.html
http://potatoehead64.blogspot.com/2007/10/names.html
http://potatoehead64.blogspot.com/2008/01/stress-buster.html
http://potatoehead64.blogspot.com/2008/12/reflections-on-5-years-in-support-work.html

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