Prejudice is based on ignorance, and this ignorance is willful. People conceal hate to avoid consequences. Ignorance disguised as a choice is bigotry, hiding in plain sight. Learn how to spot this tactic and expose the hidden agenda behind it.
Some people believe they have the right to tell others what is right and wrong, because their religion gives them the authority to decide all moral standards. This is really just a tactic to hide their hate and prejudice. Let’s look at how we can handle this tactic.
Bigotry Hiding in Plain Sight
A simple definition of Ignorance is the lack of knowledge. However, ignorance can be willful. A willful decision is made on purpose, intentionally and deliberately. So is willful ignorance an oxymoron like military intelligence, or jumbo shrimp?
How Prejudice is Based on Ignorance
A choice (1) is a decision with a range of differing implications. We must make a choice when there is more than one option. We make several choices in the course of our everyday activities. Most of these daily choices are significant for the absence of harmful effects.
“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” ― Kofi Annan
Decisions have intended and unintended consequences, and some of these have far-reaching ethical or moral implications. Therefore, our decision-making needs to involve discretion and educated judgment. Simple decisions can have dire implications. For instance, deciding what vegetables to eat would generally be seen as a neutral choice. On the surface, it seems harmless. However, this decision may not be as simple as it seems, it depends upon the circumstances and the consequences of the decision.
The Circumstances of Ignorance and Prejudice
Let’s talk about circumstances. If you steal a vegetable, this has harmful effects. Stealing harms the person who owns the vegetables. Theft is not a choice without negative ethical consequences. However, harvesting vegetables from your garden is morally neutral and may even have unintended positive effects because it reduces the carbon footprint needed to transport food. We need to recognize that our choices have a range of consequences, from neutral and benign to harmful and destructive.
On the surface, prejudice (2) can appear similar to an innocent choice because it is a decision with several options and outcomes. However, decisions made with underlying negative prejudice always result in harmful outcomes, which may not be immediately apparent. The underlying prejudice creates a negative impact. It takes on several forms of discrimination, such as gender, ethnic, and racial bias. It could also incite physical harm and justify violence. In this sense, prejudice is based on ignorance of the rights of other people.
“For most of recorded history, parental violence against children and men’s violence against wives was explicitly or implicitly condoned. Those who had the power to prevent and/or punish this violence through religion, law, or custom openly or tacitly approved it. …..The reason violence against women and children is finally out in the open is that activists have brought it to global attention.” — Riane Eisler
Just because you don’t intend to cause harm doesn’t excuse you from the harm caused. Ignorance and prejudice are not an excuse to trample on the rights of others. You can try to shift the moral implications to the authority of religious doctrine, but in the end it is the individual who either supports or rejects hate. Lack of intent is denial. It does not reduce the effects of ignorance disguised as a choice to follow religious or political rhetoric.
Hate and ignorance are the root of harmful intent, and the intent of our decisions becomes a part of the fabric of our worldview. If you have a worldview with a negative bias, it will show up in your choices. The underlying intent becomes your rationale for making value judgments. When prejudice is based on ignorance, then hate becomes a rational, neutral choice.
If your worldview promotes hate and discrimination, then you want to hide it. Cloaking your bigotry as an “innocent decision“ is a flimsy excuse. Disguising your intent is a conscious decision. If you realize the error of your motives, you can change your mind, but the longer you involve yourself in the practice of bigotry, the more difficult these thought scripts are to break.
Both biases come from a worldview that promotes this confusion. Prejudice is the result of decisions with harmful outcomes. It may seem semantics, but the results differ like night and day. Bigotry is always a poor choice.
What are Examples of Evil
To be evil is to be profoundly immoral and act with malice and hate. This sounds like the undercurrent of some religions doesn’t it? It also sounds reminds us of the undercurrent of some political agendas that cloak their evil actions in false morality.
“What is evil? Killing is evil, lying is evil, slandering is evil, abuse is evil, gossip is evil, envy is evil, hatred is evil, to cling to false doctrine is evil; all these things are evil. And what is the root of evil? Desire is the root of evil, illusion is the root of evil.” — Gautama Buddha
Religious, ethnic, racial, and gender prejudices are learned. We internalize them because we think they are correct. So, it would be best to understand why this is a dangerous, slippery slope. These are the traits of an immoral and unhealthy worldview, for it is based on hate and ignorance disguised as a choice.
Religious indoctrination is a slope. People slide down it to more extremist ideologies. Unmasking the bigotry hiding in plain sight can be an uncomfortable experience for everyone involved, because it will reveal the intents of their heart. However, it’s the best thing that could happen. This brings the issues and people into the light.
I ask you, what are examples of evil other than those based on religious prejudice?
Moving Beyond Ignorance and Prejudice
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad / Roughing It
Hopefully, you can see how a neutral choice and prejudiced decision differ. To spot it, look for the intent behind it. This requires you to delve into the motives within the premise of the argument. One way to spot hate masquerading as a neutral choice is how it affects people. Ask these questions:
- Do they tell you why this choice is correct?
- Is the outcome of the decision neutral, or does it result in harmful effects?
- Does the decision reveal negative prejudice against any person or group (gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference)?
In the final analysis, it’s wrong to promote a premise with discriminatory intent as a neutral choice. A logical argument needs to contain valid propositions. Also, a choice that results in harmful outcomes is a breach of ethics. Harming others is always wrong. The harm caused by prejudice is a decision based on a skewed value system. Unless, of course, you think prejudice, discrimination, and bias are okay, if that’s the case, then you are part of the problem.
Unfortunately, that’s where religion comes in to give you an excuse to be discriminatory. Religious people use the holy texts of their imaginary friends as justification. Don’t allow people to get away with this tactic; call them on it. When you see bias disguised as choice, let them know you see the tactic.
Harmful results are the product of a worldview colored by prejudice. So, the obvious question is, what creates a worldview built on bigotry? Bias is at the root of extremist ideology and hate. It’s a slippery slope you should try to avoid.
“Because you didn’t come here to make the choice, you’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand *why* you made it. I thought you’d have figured that out by now.” — The Oracle from The Matrix
Ignorance Disguised as a Choice
As mentioned above, confusing choice with prejudice creates a slippery slope. You’ve likely made decisions that have some bias. Now we want you to see why. That’s the only way you stop doing it. Most people believe their choices are correct. People use the underlying bias of their worldview to justify their choices.
“Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.” ― Michael Crichton, State of Fear
Not surprisingly, religions and political entities use these tactics. Religious and racial prejudice are hiding in plain sight camouflaged as God’s authority. It is how organized religions can justify all types of harmful behaviors, everything from war and genocide to gender mutilation and homophobia. They accomplish this through a brainwashing technique known as groupthink manipulation. It’s the cultural programming tool of choice. That’s because it enables them to program values and prejudices that support their perspective. That’s because bias is one of the main enemies of progress.
Sadly, many submit to this programming. As a result, people believe harmful prejudice is justifiable because it comes from a trusted source. People will argue all decisions are choices regardless of intent or outcome. This is a fallacy. Don’t let them fool you with this smokescreen, point out how the results differ. Hate and bigotry always harm someone or something.
Here’s how this issue comes up. Your religious leader wants you to support a policy which affects the rights of people to make decisions about their own bodies. It is framed as a moral obligation of the community. However, it’s really about injecting religious standards of control. The right to make decisions about one’s body and life is the bedrock of all human rights. Take away the rights from one makes it easier to take away others. This is evil hiding in plain view, if you are willing to see it.
It creates a moral and ethical dilemma, if you go along, you are supporting an action which has harmful and destructive consequences. If you reject this policy, you risk being ostracized or removed from the membership. What do you do? Do you remain silent to keep from making your disagreement known? If you do, you are giving tacit support for the harmful policy. If you speak up, you’ll face severe consequences.
Call out ignorance disguised as a choice. You know how to spot this misuse of moral power to distort logic and values. “Bias disguised as choice” is a smokescreen. Here are some practical things to minimize or eliminate this from being a part of your thinking.
Stop watching news cloaked as religious programming and supporting organized religion, it’s the major source of groupthink manipulation tactics that distort your thinking and values. These mind control methods trigger the emotional responses of fear and anger, which promote biased and prejudiced thinking. Remember, hate isn’t a neutral choice. It is a decision based on harmful bias. Prejudice is based on ignorance, but in many cases the ignorance is intentional.
Don’t allow people to get away with this tactic. Point out how their seemingly innocent choice is hiding prejudice in plain sight. Yes, it will put you in the middle of the argument, calling out bigotry is never in fashion around those who want to keep it hidden.
Remember, moving beyond bias and prejudice happens one person at a time. The impact you have may not be immediately evident, but your words of truth will linger.
“Privilege is when you contribute to the oppression of others and then claim that you are the one being discriminated against.” ― DaShanne Stokes
(1) Choice definition: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/choice
(2) Prejudice definition: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prejudice