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Taking Pride in Prejudice

principled_adversity_ganged_up_on_coverPrejudice [prejuh-dis]. Noun. 1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. 2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable. 3. unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group.

 

According to these definitions from Dictionary.com, it’s clear that there are two essential components to prejudice: first, it is a form of opinion, not fact; second, it must beĀ unreasonable or preconceived.

Please follow closely here: this implies that, for any opinion to avoid being prejudicial, the one holding that opinion must be able to articulate three things: 1) why he believes his opinion is correct; 2) why those who believe otherwise think they are correct; and 3) why those with whom he argues are wrong.

This is a matter of simple logic. First, if I can’t explain what I believe, then my beliefs are — by definition — prejudicial. Second, if I can’t explain someone else’s opinion, then rejecting that opinion is — also by definition — prejudicial. And third, if I can’t explain why I disagree with someone else’s opinion, that is — again, by definition — prejudicial.

But who am I kidding? We live in a world of sound bites and slogans, a world in which image trumps substance, in which feelings trump logic, in which the loudest voice drowns out all opponents and the most inflammatory rhetoric attracts the largest audiences. The new morality that rages against prejudice is mostly smoke-and-mirrors; indeed, the people who cry out against prejudice the loudest are the most prejudicial people of all.

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