Why Does Prejudice Exist Prejudice and Ignorance Disguised as a Choice

Why Does Prejudice Exist — Prejudice and Ignorance Disguised as a Choice

Why does prejudice exist?  Religious, ethnic, and racial prejudice exist as a part of an accepted subculture.  Ignorance disguised as a choice is bigotry, hiding in plain sight.  Learn how to spot this tactic and expose the hidden agenda behind it.

The first obstacle in discussing this subject is the fundamental right to have religious beliefs.  Everyone should have the right to believe whatever they want to, right?  The simple answer is no.  If your beliefs justify harmful actions, then your beliefs are a problem.

Some people believe they have the right to tell others what is right and wrong because of their religious beliefs.  They think their social class gives them the authority to decide the moral standards of others.  It is often a tactic to hide their hate and prejudice.

Prejudice is Based on Ignorance

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?

The more this kind of harmful thinking is accepted as a legitimate worldview, the more influence it has on a culture.  When it infiltrates a society, it always has disastrous consequences.  This is the ideological thinking that underscored the Natzi propaganda of The Third Reich.  It is hidden under the cloak of patriotic nationalism, which is now a right-wing banner corrupting governments all over the world.  Let’s look at how we can handle this growing social cancer.

Prejudice is the Child of Ignorance

When we ask, “Why does prejudice exist?” We are really talking about the criteria we use to make decisions.  Willful ignorance is the denial of facts that conflict with your beliefs.  You ignore the facts because they present a threat to your understanding or values.  This is how ignorance breeds prejudice.  Willful ignorance justifies bias and prejudice, and these elements subvert our decision-making process.

Here’s the problem: all fundamental religious beliefs are fundamentally wrong; they create prejudice.  All fundamentalist ideologies have the following traits:

1) Their religious teachings make them superior, the “chosen one” mentality.

2)  Because they are chosen by God, they can treat everyone else as an enemy.  This superiority is used to justify actions from discrimination to extermination.

Religious and political fundamentalists use the above guiding principles in making decisions.  They can willfully ignore the rational implications of their decisions.  Thus, their prejudice is the child of ignorance, willful and determined.

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.

“Prejudice and ignorance 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

Many decisions have intended and unintended consequences.  Some of the consequences 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 be considered 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 consequences.

prejudice is based on ignorance so prejudice is the child of ignorance

So Why Does Prejudice Exist?

If prejudice and ignorance are so harmful, why haven’t we been able to address the problem?  Sad to say, racism, prejudice, and bias are protected by many people because they love their hate.  It all has to do with their perceived rights to have beliefs that harm others.

Let’s talk about the circumstances of decisions.  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.  But harvesting vegetables from your garden is morally neutral.  It has unintended positive effects because it reduces the carbon footprint.  We need to recognize that our choices have a range of consequences, from positive to negative.

On the surface, prejudice (2) can appear like an innocent choice.  This happens when a decision is based on stereotypes and negative bias.  Decisions made with underlying negative prejudice always result in harmful outcomes.  Sometimes, these effects may not be immediately apparent.  The underlying prejudice creates a negative impact.  It takes on several forms of discrimination, such as gender, ethnicity, and racial bias.  It could also incite physical harm and justify violence.  In this sense, prejudice is based on ignorance of other people’s rights.

“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 for trampling on the rights of others.  People try to shift the moral implications to the authority of their religion.  But in the end, the individual either supports or rejects hate.  Lack of intent is denial.  It does not reduce the effects of prejudice and ignorance disguised as a choice.  Following religious or political rhetoric is a choice.

Hate and ignorance are the roots 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, hate becomes a rational, neutral choice.

If your worldview promotes hate and discrimination, 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.  The longer you hold negative beliefs, the more difficult it is to break these thought scripts.

So, your first task is to ask yourself, why does prejudice exist in your life?  How does prejudice exist in my thinking and values?

Both biases come from a worldview that promotes this confusion.  Prejudice results from 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.  It is the underly premise of Western theology.  This undercurrent of hate fuels 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.  Hate and ignorance, disguised as a choice, are often cloaked in the white robes of religion.

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.  Confronting these beliefs exposes the motives of prejudice.  But 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 and political prejudice?

Moving Beyond Prejudice and Ignorance

“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

moving beyond ignorance and prejudice

Hopefully, you can see how neutral and prejudiced decisions 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?
— Does it promote discrimination of any type (gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference)?

In the final analysis, promoting a premise with discriminatory intent as a neutral choice is wrong.  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 and ignorance disguised as a 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 that affects the rights of people to make decisions about their bodies.  It is framed as a moral obligation of the community.  However, it’s really about injecting religious standards of control.  The right to decide about one’s body and life is the bedrock of all human rights.  Taking 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 support actions with 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.

In Conclusion

Why does prejudice exist in our modern world?  It exists because we allow it to be an accepted part of a skewed cultural narrative.

Draw the line between culture and your life.  Don’t allow people to use choice as an excuse for bigotry and prejudice.  You know how to spot this misuse of moral power to distort logic and values.  “Ingnorice disguised as a choice” is a smokescreen.   Here are some practical things to minimize or eliminate this from being a part of your thinking.

The best thing you can do for your mental health is to stop watching news cloaked as religious programming.  This media is a major source of groupthink manipulation tactics.  It distorts your thinking and values.  These mind control methods trigger the emotional responses of fear and anger.  When you are emotionally charged, you are more susceptible to 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, 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 fashionable around those who want to hide it.

Remember, moving beyond bias and prejudice happens one person at a time.  Your impact 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, Merriam Webster.  
(2) Prejudice definition, Merriam Webster.  

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