If you were asked this question in an interview, how would you answer? No I mean honestly?
You would want to impress the interviewers and so you would probably say there wasn’t an ounce of prejudice in you.
You would probably talk about respect, diversity and how there is “no place for discrimination in our society.”
The thing is, you’d probably score badly on this question. The interviewers would know you were lying. They’d know that you were saying what you thought they wanted to hear.
Carol Travis and Elliott Aronson (2016) in their book Mistakes were made say that when it comes to prejudice, “The brain is designed with blind spots, optical and psychological, and one of its cleverest tricks is to confer on its owner the comforting delusion that he or she does not have any.”
People want to believe that they don’t have any prejudices but they do and some have more than others. Some are quite open about them, proud even – ask any football fan.
Travis and Aronson provide a very powerful example to illustrate the point. They talk about the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, a multimedia museum designed to examine racism and prejudice around the world with a strong focus on the history of the Holocaust.
As you enter the museum you find yourself in a room with exhibits designed to identify the people you can’t tolerate. You watch a video on the huge number of prejudices there are in the world designed to convince you that you have some too. You are then invited to enter the museum proper through one of two doors, one marked PREJUDICED and the other UNPREJUDICED. The latter door is actually locked. Some people have even been seen banging on the UNPREJUDICED door demanding to be let in.
We all have prejudices and learning to respect differences is far from easy because of our all the influences we have been exposed to. Bullying, intimidation, prejudice and racism aren’t going to just disappear – fighting them is a constant work in progress. Acceptance, change, survival and strength are daily struggles.
Remember, its Ok To Be.