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Do you know what prejudice really is?

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posted on Aug, 9 2009 @ 11:09 PM
I posted this on another thread and got applause for it. I decided to turn it into it's own thread, only because its something which doesn't, in my opinion, get enough discussion.

Prejudices. We hear a lot about different kinds of bigotry these days, whether it be racism or political bias or what have you. But it seems we never really talk about the natural processes that happen in the mind which are the foundations for all of these.

The thing is that Racism isn't academic. It's based on prejudice which is a process of reflexive analysis whereby we project our own feelings and beliefs onto others. These feelings or beliefs can originate from previous experiences with other individuals or from whatever mythology we have been taught.

You know that song that goes "Women seem wicked, when you're unwanted". There's a huge truth to that. That's a form of prejudice. If you are in a relationship and get cheated on, all a sudden every woman now looks like she just wants to screw around on her man. At least for a time. At the same time, if you do feel unwanted you begin to despise the sex you wish to be desired by. These are examples of reflexive analysis projecting fears which are based on previous individual experience.

You might, as a man, believe the myth that women don't want to have sex as often as a man. That will inform how you relate to women, what you think of them, and what you believe to be real.

Because the result of these reflexive analyses are very real in the subjective realm.

I once cheated in a marriage. The next day it honeslty felt that when I looked at people that they *knew* what I had done. This was me projecting my own sense of guilt on to everyone else. Now in this situation there was contrast. This was the first time I had ever felt this about the people I ran into, and the logical reasoning that there was no way anybody knew what had happened made me reflect on what was going on. But even though I logically realized that no one could possibly know what I had done, I still couldn't shake the experience every time I talked to someone that day.

This occurs not just with genders, but across racial lines as well. There is no way a man can ever understand a woman , he projects what he believes upon her, yet yer own unique female existence can only be grasped at by a man. The same is true for women to men, and the same is true across races and ethnic cultures.

It's actually more granular than races, but occurs that way. For example, being in the presence of Irish folk is completely different from being in the presence of Italian folk.

Likewise its much different being in the presence of Americans from South Carolina than it is being in the presence of Americans from North Dakota. We all come with our own gender and cultural identifiers which give us different intonation and body language from each other. And what one persons body language might mean in their cultural locality can be completely different from what that same body language means in another cultural locality.

And when you mix gender and race on top of identifiers of cultural locality you've now increased that two fold. Now, a female from North Dakota might be better able to relate to a female from South Carolina as it relates to similar gender, but other cultural uniqueness might throw her off on accurate communication.

To me, this is the biggest problem. Is that, even though we can become aware of the fact that this process exists within us through a crisis like I described above, we aren't typically aware that we assume so much about people all the time which is incorrect. We project so much on to others that unless we can understand our own patterns of projection, we will never be able to properly apprehend who the other really is.

We should be talking about how we should all become aware of the prejudices we bring to the table so that we don't mis understand what is really being communicated to us.

America is like Europe in one particular way. We have many different cultural groups within our borders. Only instead of being other nations, they are states and regions, but they all have their unique history and the peoples who form these groups all have their own unique and complex narratives, and thus their own unique and complex prejudices.

I will also go on to say that this is the foundation of not only racism, but all forms of cultural misunderstandings such as misogyny, religious differences etc.

Keep in mind that what may appear to be racism from one perspective may be completely innocuous from another.

I think the more we can understand the psychological conditioning and baggage we bring to our encounters with others, the better we can make life for ourselves and those we interact with.

[edit on 9-8-2009 by HunkaHunka]

posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 02:57 AM
From everything I know and have learned from psychology, prejudices are impossible to get away from. They exist in everything and everyone and it is impossible to be completely subjective, but I agree with your sentiments in your post. We should all try to make a conscience effort to dismantle these preconceptions whenever possible.

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