One day, as me and my girlfriend were driving to my brother’s home for the weekend, and having finished “Blink” a while before, we started talking about something that had been in my head for a while:
Why are we prejudiced?
And why is it to hard to not be?
And I don’t mean this as in “it’s cultural”, because while that is true, feeling prejudice comes way too naturally, right?
Doesn’t matter if you’re racist, misogynist, misandrist, or any other kind of -ist. To avoid those feelings, you have to be conscious about them, and to me, that means it might be something more than just “absorbing the culture around you”.
So, in order to be able to fight it, I think it’s best to completely understand we do have it, and why, so we are aware of its power and presence.
It’s part of our evolution.
For something to be part of us instinctively in the current days, it usually has to have had some kind of benefit (or at least not be harmful) in the past.
So, how could prejudice have been beneficial? Sounds terrible, right?
Well, if you think about it, thousands of years ago, we were not as smart as we are right now (so we couldn’t rationalize mating choices), and we needed to avoid mating with other very different animals. Also, if you notice, we always try to find ourselves in our significant others. It’s beneficial to “continue the lineage” and make sure the “good pool of genes” carries on.
That’s where prejudice became an “advantage”.
The problem is nowadays (and since forever, probably also for a long time still) we’re feeling prejudice not for mating, but for everything, so it’s our job to rationalize through that instinct and understand it’s not making sense for the context you’re in.
Next time you feel prejudice, stop and think about it, understand you’re feeling it and why you’re feeling it, so you can better fight it in the future.
Written by Bruno Bernardino.
Thoughts can change, disappear, or simply be observed.