• Jack Cummins
    1.4k
    The idea of 'prejudice' is about preconceived notions of a negative nature and stereotypes. There has been a whole history of fighting against prejudice against black people, against sexism, LBGTIQ+, disability and any other aspects of difference. It is not easy because it appears that prejudice is deep seated.

    However, while fighting prejudice is a difficult battle I would suggest that there is another angle. That is the way in which prejudice is usually projected onto others. I wish to suggest that, on some level, every human being has some prejudice and that is what we have to work with too.

    I do believe that overcoming prejudice is important, and is an ethical ideal, so I am asking to what extent can we reach this ideal, in order for people to live more harmoniously with all others?

  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    Interesting. I believe that every human being has particular weaknesses that they are subject to, as well as particular strengths. Very often people may be highly critical of another persons' dependency on alchohol, lets, say, while they may themselves have a corresponding weakness, but perhaps in a socially more acceptable sense, being a workaholic for example.

    So I would agree, in general terms, that we all are subject to "prejudices", but I don't think these always are manifested the the specific form of prejudices against types of people, which is the sense in which I assume you are using the term. A prejudice is fundamentally a "pre-judgement."

    When it comes to the common usage of prejudice today, I think that those specific types of prejudices are to a very large extent learned-taught behaviours. And I do think that, to the extent that our society becomes enlightened, they can and will be eliminated.
  • turkeyMan
    119


    its an almost impossible task and i don't recommend the solution on me nor anyone. To approach the threshold of success, you and i would have to become literally homeless.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I would not say that any human being can live up to the ideal of being free of any prejudice, in the way that anyone can achieve complete wisdom. However, I do point to it as an ethical ideal worth striving towards.

    You point to the danger of homelessness, in the pursuit. I am not sure of the actual connection. Many are on the verge of homelessness and I could become so at some stage in life, although I certainly hope not. But, what I am thinking is that homeless people are a particular group of people subject to prejudice. Perhaps prejudice against the homeless is a key aspect of this question.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I would agree with you that many prejudices are learned. The most obvious is that racism was more common in the past or in certain groups of the population.

    When thinking about the question, you point to the way in which projection may arise, such as a person projecting on to the alcoholic having a hidden alcohol problem. What I would say is that there is also a lot of prejudice against people with alcohol problems amongst many who do not have any alcohol difficulties. There are all kinds of presumptions made about the person's life and lifestyle.

    What I do believe is that prejudice is a subtle force. It is most obvious in obvious forms of discrimination against minority groups. However, that is the tip of the iceberg, ranging to the much more subtle. Where does 'dislike' end and prejudice begin?
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    What I do believe is that prejudice is a subtle force. It is most obvious in obvious forms of discrimination against minority groups. However, that is the tip of the iceberg, ranging to the much more subtle. Where does 'dislike' end and prejudice begin?Jack Cummins

    Yes, I think it is important to excavate the true depths and nuances of "prejudice." Essentially, even something like the phenomenological reduction can be viewed as a kind of elimination of prejudice. However I think that you rightly focus on the social dimensions, as this is where prejudices do the most damage. Let's see what other ideas emerge.
  • counterpunch
    744
    The very nature of human understanding is heuristic, while the world is incredibly large and complex. To entirely overcome prejudice - in the literal sense of the term prejudice, you'd have to assume perfect information, and that's not possible.

    But that's not what I think advocates of political correctness mean when they say prejudice. They don't really care if a politically incorrect opinion has a factual basis. Use of the term prejudice assumes that if someone were better informed, they wouldn't hold this view, but that's not necessarily the case.

    This plays out in relation to things like stop and search, or profiling potential terrorists for searches at airports. It's decried as prejudice, but the facts are the facts; black people commit more crime, and middle eastern people commit more acts of terrorism. These may be completely inappropriate assumptions in respect of any particular individual, but we are not made safer by dispensing with heuristic assumptions.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    941
    I wish to suggest that, on some level, every human being has some prejudice and that is what we have to work with too.Jack Cummins

    I'd agree, but it's not worth flagellating oneself over an attitude one has on a subconscious level. If the prejudice becomes an actual belief then something has gone wrong and that belief needs correction, but if it's just instinctual then you're probably just normal. I think humans are instinctually pre-disposed to fear all outsiders to some extent, even if they're the same ethnic group.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I take on board your point of view, but the only thing I would point out is the way in which prejudices can become systemic. It is established within research that black people are often treated differently from white ones in the mental health system. What has been apparent and even recognised amongst mental health professionals is that certain individuals, with a similar presentation who are white, are more likely to be categorised as 'paranoid schizophrenic', rather than simply 'schizophrenic'.
  • counterpunch
    744
    As far as I can tell from some quick googling - this supposed research is based on little more than a disparity in numbers, where an inequity is taken as evidence of unfairness. What I would like to see is some research into why "Black people are over four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act, relative to population."

    I have great difficulty believing it's entirely due to racism - because that would imply a vast number of medically qualified professional people behaving in a completely unprofessional and unethical manner. But terrific example of the inadequacies of political correctness driven social science! Was it undergraduate level research?
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I don't think that the matter is about 'flagellating oneself' about thinking about subconscious attitudes. What I am really saying is that often the idea of prejudice is seen as 'out there', rather stemming from the personal. I think that this balance needs to be readressed to some extent.
    I am not denying the importance of prejudice in the real world but think that examination of it on a deeper level is the task for philosophy.

    You point to the role of instincts and the way in which people are perceived as 'outsiders' and I think that this is at the core of prejudice. The fact that something is regarded as instinctual should not be seen as a basis for justification and could be seen as a naturalistic fallacy.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    Let us hope that the mental health system is becoming more aware of biases, such as racism. I have worked in mental health care and there is dialogue. However, I would say that there are interesting dynamics going on in mental and care.

    Having worked in a number of mental health care settings, I am aware that most of the consultant psychiatrists are white, while a certain of the more junior doctors are from ethnic backgrounds. On the other hand, many of the nursing staff are from black and ethnic backgrounds. However, I am aware that I am speaking from the perspective of working in England, so it may be very different in other parts of the world.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    I'd agree, but it's not worth flagellating oneself over an attitude one has on a subconscious level.BitconnectCarlos

    I really think this is where it is most important. Whether philosophically or socially, our unexcavated beliefs can be among the most powerful, and the most dangerous.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    941


    But those aren't beliefs; I'm talking more about instincts.
  • baker
    568
    I do believe that overcoming prejudice is important, and is an ethical ideal, so I am asking to what extent can we reach this ideal, in order for people to live more harmoniously with all others?Jack Cummins
    Why do you believe that overcoming prejudice is important?
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    Where does instinct end and where does belief come in? Where does emotion fit into the picture?
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I don't know what to say, other than ask if you believe that prejudice matters at all?
  • BitconnectCarlos
    941
    Where does instinct end and where does belief come in? Where does emotion fit into the picture?Jack Cummins

    A belief is something that you actually consciously believe. People aren't guilty for their instincts or fantasies, if they were the entire world would deserve to burn.
  • baker
    568
    There are ways for people to live harmoniously together: such as under tyrants; or when everyone knows their place and minds their own business. It doesn't make for a kumbaya-happy picture, of course, but it's harmonious.

    Prejudice only begins to matter when an egalitarian social order is being imposed on people.
  • Athena
    1.1k
    I am white and really do not believe I was prejudiced against anyone until having bad experiences. The first time I saw people of color, they did a musical performance at my school and I loved them. I gave them a standing ovation and was shocked and embarrassed because I was the only one standing. I thought something was wrong with the White students who did not give colored students the standing ovation they deserved. Really? My mother was a singer and when someone gives a good performance we should show our appreciation and the people of color seemed so happy and friendly and did such a good performance, I wanted to be one of them, not an uptight and unfriendly White.

    I gravitate towards people from other countries and have discovered people of color from Africa are not angry towards Whites as people of color who lived in some of the United States may be very angry. I think we have a difficult situation in the US because anger is very part of the problem.

    I think it is helpful to look for the beauty in people. Now that implies prejudice as we discriminate what is beautiful and what is not, but at least it crosses the racial barriers. So if I add things up, the musical performance, meeting very nice people from Africa, and enjoying beauty, I would not say I am not prejudiced against people of color, but I am careful because I am aware of how angry some people are. :lol: Loving to meet new people has meant stepping into good situations as well as some not so good situations. It depends on where the person comes from more than the color of the skin.

    Finally, I have a great-grandson who has dark skin and black kinky hair, and obviously, he is one of us. The color of his skin does not make him someone who is not one of us. He is family and you can't be closer than that. We share the same genes for goodness sake. It seems obvious to me the color of the skin does not matter. It is just the color of the skin. In India, people have many shades of color and they are all one, Indian. In time the people of the US may look like the people of India. As long as they are democratic I don't care if some are White and some have permanent tans. What is most to me is the values of democracy, not the shade of the skin.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I would certainly say that people are not guilty for the fantasies which arise, but perhaps it matters how we react to our fantasies. I would see consciousness awareness of them as being the most important aspect, as processing them.

    You speak of belief being conscious. I would say that this is true on the most basic level when we speak about our beliefs. However, this is only the starting point and the whole philosophy underlying cognitive behavioral therapy, which is one of the most recognised, effective forms of therapy is one which recognises that beliefs have underlying assumptions of which we are probably not so aware.
  • Pantagruel
    1.4k
    A belief is something that you actually consciously believe. People aren't guilty for their instincts or fantasies, if they were the entire world would deserve to burn.BitconnectCarlos

    Well, people have - or can have - a degree of control over their habitual behaviours. The terms "instinct," "sub-conscious," "habit," are all constructs and there is not real evidence as to exactly what they correlate. But conscious attention for sure can modify motives and habits which may have only been operating below the level of conscious awareness up until then.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I understand that you are someone who is not racist. I was not brought up to be racist, but I grew up in an area which was white. I played with the children who were black or Asian but did see them being treated badly. One of my Asian friends got knocked unconscious while walking home from school.

    I am also half Irish and when my dad first came to England he felt that he experience some racism against Irish people, so it is not straightforward entirely.
  • Athena
    1.1k
    There are ways for people to live harmoniously together: such as under tyrants; or when everyone knows their place and minds their own business. It doesn't make for a kumbaya-happy picture, of course, but it's harmonious.

    Prejudice only begins to matter when an egalitarian social order is being imposed on people.
    baker

    Can I add to what said my grandmother's rules because I think they eliminate social problems?

    1. We respect all people because we are respectful people. It doesn't matter who the other person is because no one determines how we behave but ourselves.

    2. We protect the dignity of others.

    2. We do everything with integrity.

    Then there is the commandment, look for God in everyone and "there but for the grace of God so I". We are all in this together so it behooves us to make things as pleasant as we can. :wink: I will do what I can to get to kumbaya-happy.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    941
    Well, people have - or can have - a degree of control over their habitual behaviours. The terms "instinct," "sub-conscious," "habit," are all constructs and there is not real evidence as to exactly what they correlate. But conscious attention for sure can modify motives and habits which may have only been operating below the level of conscious awareness up until then.Pantagruel

    Just because something can be modified doesn't mean that it necessarily will modify in terms of instinct. We don't really control our immediate responses. Sure we can try to do things to change them but there's no guarantee they'll succeed. Personally, I've had immediate negative instinctual responses towards members of my own ethnic group as well as others so I guess I'm just basically racist against humanity at this point.
  • Athena
    1.1k
    I understand that you are someone who is not racist. I was not brought up to be racist, but I grew up in an area which was white. I played with the children who were black or Asian but did see them being treated badly. One of my Asian friends got knocked unconscious while walking home from school.

    I am also half Irish and when my dad first came to England he felt that he experience some racism against Irish people, so it is not straightforward .
    Jack Cummins

    I remember hearing constantly about the violence between the Irish and the British and it seemed all around the world people somehow people imaged a difference between themselves and "those people".
    It amazed me! It still blows my mind. Even when people look the same they can imagine there is an important difference between people. Like if they go to war, how do they know who is one of us and who is one of "those people" when everyone looks the same? That is very creative isn't it, to believe they are not one of us? It certainly is not logical. We all share this planet and it will be as we make it. Why would we choose war over brotherly love and @baker word kumbaya? :brow:
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    I would say that prejudice is about visible and invisible differences, as well as beliefs about superiority.
    As George Orwell said in 'Animal Farm':
    'ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.'
  • Athena
    1.1k
    Just because something can modify doesn't mean that it necessarily will modify given instinct. We don't really control our immediate responses. Sure we can try to do things to change them but there's no guarantee they'll succeed. Personally, I've had immediate negative conscious responses towards members of my own ethnic group as well as others so I guess I'm just basically racist against humanity at this point.BitconnectCarlos

    I believe reason and culture override instinct. We can all learn virtues and good manners if they are taught. That was the original purpose of education, and we need to get back to it.

    Civilization means to make others as ourselves and since mankind sat around campfires they invent mythology and passed it on from one generation to the next. The purpose of mythology is to create a uniting story and transition youth to adults. Education for technology does not transmit a culture, but education for democracy does. May I suggest we return to liberal education with the goal of creating a better human experience for everyone. Technology is important. We could not support the huge earth population we have without it, but it is not the only thing that is important. Learning to live with each other is also important.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    941
    I would certainly say that people are not guilty for the fantasies which arise, but perhaps it matters how we react to our fantasies. I would see consciousness awareness of them as being the most important aspect, as processing them.Jack Cummins



    It's a good thing to reflect upon those instinctual thoughts and dispel them upon reflection. That's part of being a good person - you don't just identify yourself with your immediate, instinctual thoughts; you're instead capable of dispelling them upon reflection and reaffirm your commitment towards a different worldview.
  • Jack Cummins
    1.4k

    You advocate the idea of reflection and dispelling of 'instinctual thoughts'. Do you think that the majority of people, and I am not just speaking of members of the forum, but the wider population, do this? I think that what you are saying sounds easy in principle but, is much harder to put into practice, even with the best human, or even, philosophical intentions. I do see it as a worthwhile goal.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment