Are You a Victim of Prejudice?
WHAT do ethnic violence, racism, discrimination, segregation, and genocide have in common? They are all consequences of a widespread human tendency—prejudice!
What is prejudice? One encyclopedia defines it as “an opinion formed without taking the time or care to judge fairly.” As imperfect humans, we are prone to be prejudicial to some degree. Perhaps you can think of instances when you made a judgment without having all the facts. The Bible contrasts such prejudicial inclinations with the way Jehovah God judges. It says: “Not the way man sees is the way God sees, because mere man sees what appears to the eyes; but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart is.”—1 Samuel 16:7.
Prejudice Can Hurt
Undoubtedly everyone has been misjudged by someone at some time. (Compare Ecclesiastes 7:21, 22.) In a general sense, all of us are victims of prejudice. However, when quickly dispelled, prejudicial thoughts will likely cause little or no hurt. It is the nurturing of such thoughts that can result in harm. It can deceive us into believing a falsehood. For example, under the influence of prejudice, some people truly believe that a person can be greedy, lazy, stupid, or proud simply because of belonging to a certain religious, ethnic, or national group.
In many cases such misjudgment gives birth to unfair, abusive, or even violent treatment of others. Millions of people have lost their lives in massacres, genocides, ethnic killings, and other forms of extreme prejudice.
All over the earth, governments have fought prejudice by legally guaranteeing the inviolable right to freedom, security, and equality. If you read the constitution or principal body of laws of your country, no doubt you will find a clause or an amendment designed to protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of their race, gender, or religion. Yet, prejudice and discrimination are rampant on a worldwide scale.
Are you a victim of prejudice? Have you been branded as greedy, lazy, stupid, or proud simply because of your race, age, gender, nationality, or religious beliefs? Are you being denied opportunities for proper education, employment, housing, and social services because of prejudice? If so, how can you cope?
[Picture on page 3]
Nurturing prejudice foments racial hatred
Nina Berman/Sipa Press