Prejudice is the Child of Ignorance.
This evening I went to dinner with my wife and son at a Chinese restaurant. Wont go into details as to what was for dinner, but it was afterwards that gave me this idea for a quick article. My wives fortune cookie fortune read " Prejudice is the child of Ignorance ". As we finished dinner we discussed this topic for a considerable length of time pondering the meanings and hidden meanings. We came up with several possible meanings. But this article will attempt to lump all the concepts into one.
In order to describe my thoughts and views on the topic one must first define the key words as they relate to each other and the overall concept. Also it is imperative to have a common ground of understanding as to definitions. Below are the literal definitions for both prejudice and ignorance. I used www.dictionary.com for the definitions.
PREJUDICE- prej·u·dice /?pr?d??d?s/
[prej-uh-dis] noun, verb, -diced, -dic·ing.
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 a racial, religious, or national group.
4. such attitudes considered collectively: The war against prejudice is never-ending.
5. damage or injury; detriment: a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.
–verb (used with object)
6. to affect with a prejudice, either favorable or unfavorable: His honesty and sincerity prejudiced us in his favor.
To put this definition into more common vernacular. It basically states that prejudice is a belief or opinion that states that one is inferior in some respect or that one has a preconceived notion as to what something is or is not without having the facts.
IGNORANCE- ig·no·rance /??gn?r?ns/
the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.
Another way to understand this definition is to say maybe that somebody is clueless. So what is meant by the phrase " Prejudice is the child of ignorance ". First, this term is referring to the idea that people have a very strong tendency to ignore what they find uncomfortable and or inconvenient. By this I mean that every man and woman on earth, irregardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or any other label you wish to apply, are guilty of being willfully and intentionally ignorant of some things. That is to say they choose to ignore what they done believe in or what they don't like. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree with somebody, but to ignore their point of view because one does not like it falls under this category as well.
When we start down the road of ignorance, we are in fact breeding prejudice. When one is prejudiced, this does not necessarily mean whites hating blacks, orientals hating Russians, or what ever. It simply means that one has the opinion that they are better than the other because the others are not the same as them. This is a direct result of ignorance. Hence the literal meaning. You can not have one without the other.
So this brings us back to the original thesis that was discussed over dinner. What does this phrase mean and what did we decide upon. We decided that as a whole, humanity has a great capacity for hate, ridicule, and violence towards others different from them. This results from ignorance that leads to prejudice. A great example of this concept is the recent killing of Osama bin Laden. We will not get into semantics at this time, but rather it exposed the deep seated hatred and prejudice towards Arabs and more specifically, Muslims, that the vast majority of the world seem to hold towards them. When the news broke that Bin Laden was dead, I like many people began to rejoice, then it hit me. I was actually cheering for the cold conscious killing intentionally carried out by our special forces under orders from the president. What harm have we wrought with this prejudice. It appears at this time, that almost all persons seem to think of Muslims as blood thirsty terrorists. This is pure prejudice, when was the last time you spoke with a Muslim as a human being? All that being said, it is a direct result of ignorance. It shows that we really have no idea as to how other nationalities think or how other religions work. Because we are ignorant of these facts willingly, it leads directly to prejudice, which leads to blood shed. History is riddled with mass killings based off of prejudice and ignorance.
So next time you are driving down the street and you see someone that is different and you start to think, " That person is a scum bag, he/she must be cause she is a ____________ ' fill in the blank ' ) This is prejudice based on ignorance. You know absolutely nothing about that person but that person is now judged because of clothing, religious attire, skin color, handicap, or a million other things. Consider it...
But we also decided that humanity as a whole has the tremendous capacity to love. It is by far the greater of the concepts. With true love, we as humans can accept others, differences and all. The basis of the Muslim faith is love. The koran speaks many times of the importance of love as well as the importance of loving others that are different. The Koran speaks a few times of the offense unto Allah of the willful killing of others. The Christian bible speaks of this as well many times over. The Hebrew kabbalah the same, the Wiccan 12 laws, even the luciferians. It is the very few of any group that taints the true nature of all. Bin Laden was the example as an extremist of that faith, Randy Weaver is the Christian example, Meyer Lansky is the Jewish example. But these very few do not speak for the majority. Rather they use their own fear, ignorance, and prejudice to attempt to force others to their will. But in the end, all met a violent end. Ignorance and prejudice are the roads that lead to death and despair. The great Jedi Master Yoda might say " These are the lines to the dark side ".
When we begin to replace ignorance and prejudice with understanding, this leads directly to love. I can not remember who said this next quote, but I think it fits perfectly " With love all things are possible "