Prejudice

prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case

Prejudice is prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, political opinion, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, or other personal characteristics. In this case, it refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership.

QuotesEdit

  • He hears but half who hears one party only.
    • Æschylus, Eum, 428; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 631.
  • If a person is capable of rectifying his erroneous judgments in the light of new evidence he is not prejudiced. Prejudgments become prejudices only if they are reversible when exposed to new knowledge. A prejudice, unlike a simple misconception, is actively resistant to all evidence that would unseat it. We tend to grow emotional when a prejudice is threatened with contradiction. Thus the difference between ordinary prejudgments and prejudice is that one can discuss and rectify a prejudgment without emotional resistance.
  • The great obstacle to progress is prejudice
  • Prejudice renders a man's virtue his habit, and not a series of unconnected acts. Through just prejudice, his duty becomes a part of his nature.
    • Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790).
  • We are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood. To hate a man because he was born in another country, because he speaks a different language, or because he takes a different view on this subject or that, is a great folly. Desist, I implore you, for we are all equally human…. Let us have but one end in view, the welfare of humanity.
    • Attributed to John Amos Comenius; reported in Laurence J. Peter, Peter's Quotations (1977), p. 76. This passage was used by Adlai E. Stevenson on his Christmas card in 1961.
  • Can science ever be immune from experiments conceived out of prejudices and stereotypes, conscious or not? (Which is not to suggest that it cannot in discrete areas identify and locate verifiable phenemonena in nature.) I await the study that says lesbians have a region of the hypothalamus that resembles straight men and I would not be surprised if, at this very moment, some scientist somewhere is studying brains of deceased Asians to see if they have an enlarged "math region" of the brain.
  • Chi non esce dal suo paese, vive pieno di pregiudizi.
    • He who never leaves his country is full of prejudices.
    • Carlo Goldoni, Pamela (c. 1750), I, 14.
  • Both social and biosocial factors are necessary to interpret crosscultural studies, with the general proviso that one's research interest determines which elements, in what combinations, are significant for the provision of understanding.
    • Gilbert Herdt, "Bisexuality and the Causes of Homosexuality: The Case of the Sambia"
  • Francis Bacon long ago called attention to the play of predispositions or prejudices in man's life when he wrote of four "Idols," or types of false opinion, that man must avoid if he wishes to attain sound judgements. ...The idols of the theater are those errors or false opinions imbedded in an uncritically accepted tradition. Thus, pride of race, exaggerated nationalism, or perverted patriotism may become the essential traditions of a culture; and in some communities children grow up in a climate of social snobbery, narrow sectarianism in religion, and strict partisanism in politics.
    Bacon believed that "the power of reason" gave man the ability to rise above prejudice.
    • H. Gordon Hullfish, Philip G. Smith, Reflective Thinking: The Method of Education (1961)
  • It is difficult for an individual to decide—as he might decide some morning, say, not to shave—to be rational (reasonable) rather than to remain prejudiced. Prejudices are rooted in such deep feelings that it does not occur to us to question them. ...on matters that involve his deeply held prejudices he is not likely to struggle. ...since he is unaware of a problem, he confronts no tension or conflict. He feels no need to struggle.
    ...The cultural environment which gives rise to prejudices does not usually provide the conditions that call them into question. The cultural mind... is often closed; it may always be closed on specific beliefs.
    • H. Gordon Hullfish, Philip G. Smith, Reflective Thinking: The Method of Education (1961)
  • Any pattern of belief which is formed as a result of an unthinking or conditioning process may be called prejudice. All such beliefs are unreasoned; not all of them, however, are unreasonable. ...Man sometimes holds right beliefs for the wrong reasons; sometimes he holds them for no reason at all.
    • H. Gordon Hullfish, Philip G. Smith, Reflective Thinking: The Method of Education (1961)
  • Uatu the Watcher: Years after Magnus's escape from the Axis powers, his wife left him in fear of his awesome awakening magnetic power...
...And his daughter died at the hands of a mob...for human prejudice had discovered a new target--mutants.
  • Uatu the Watcher: X-51...think. Since everyone looks like a mutant, it is not possible to attack or strike out with any revenge against them. This belief is superficial. It is skin-deep fabrication and trusted only by those who are unwilling to consider more than what they've already learned. The reality is that these changes have brought peace to the mutant race- - despite the underlying anger within Earth's people. The mutation has made prejudice obsolete.
    • Earth X, appendix to ch. 2, script and story by Jim Krueger, story by Alex Ross
  • Remember, when the judgment's weak,
    The prejudice is strong.
    • Kane O'Hara, Midas, Air, Act I, scene 3; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 632.
  • Tolerant people are the happiest, so why not get rid of prejudices that hold you back?
  • They're afraid of you because you're different from them. So whatever you do, it doesn't matter.
    • Ian Chesterton, The Daleks written by Terry Nation
  • How immense to us appear the sins we have not committed.
    • Madame Necker; reported in Louis Klopsch, ed., Many Thoughts of Many Minds: A Treasury of Quotations From the Literature of Every Land and Every Age (1896), p. 229.
  • Sex prejudice is so ingrained in our society that many who practice it are simply unaware that they are hurting women. It is the last socially acceptable prejudice.
    • Bernice Sandler, testimony (June 19, 1970), "Discrimination Against Women", hearings before the special subcommittee on education of the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, 91st Congress, 2d session, part 1, p. 302 (1970). She was chairman of the Action Committee for Federal Contract Compliance in Education of the Women's Equity Action League.
  • Consider: if you incorporate those tropical countries with the Republic of the United States, you will have to incorporate their people too.
    • Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate on the annexation of San Domingo (January 11, 1871), The Congressional Globe, vol. 43, p. 26.
  • The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs, and explosions, and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy; and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.”
  • When we destroy an old prejudice, we have need of a new virtue.
  • You reason well, and your wit is bold, but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are, that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplated by men's eyes, because they know, or think they know, some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all, and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new beliefs, which think themselves new, and which are yet but the old, which pretend to be young, like the fine ladies at the opera.
  • Husserl has shown that man's prejudices go a great deal deeper than his intellect or his emotions. Consciousness itself is 'prejudiced' — that is to say, intentional.
    • Colin Wilson in Introduction to the New Existentialism, p. 54.

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