Overcoming Prejudice

The fastest and most authentic way of overcoming prejudice is to first of all recognize that we all have prejudices. In fact, that is the main cause of prejudice: self-blindness. This is a basic psychological reality, but one which extends across all realities. Jung called it projection: what you loathe or fear in others is something you loathe or fear in yourself, but unconsciously. You project your issues onto other people or another person. We do this collectively as a people group or even a whole nation! It is not uncommon to watch one nation demonize another and rant against it's abuses, when many can see that the nation doing the demonizing is doing the very same thing it rants against. We have often heard someone criticizing another person while we are thinking, "Can't he see he's describing himself?!" So the first thing we must do is examine ourselves. Self-analyze. Become self-aware. And if you are having trouble, talk to someone you trust and ask them to give you constructive criticism... a good spiritual director or psychologist for instance. Many of us live, work, study, etc., in vastly diverse religious cultures. Christians might criticize Muslims. Jews might criticize Christians. Buddhists might criticize Hindus. Believers might criticize atheists. All this only augments difference and division. But it goes deeper than that. Presbyterians might criticize Catholics. Southern Conference Baptists might criticize fundamentalist Baptists. American Muslims might criticize European Muslims. And on it goes. Right down to me criticizing the one sitting next to me in the church, temple, mosque or Atheists Anonymous. Why don't we instead start by examining the differences and divisions in our own minds? Why don't we become aware of the inconsistencies and irrationalities in our own thinking? Why don't we first acknowledge the emotional, psychological, intellectual and even spiritual conflicts within ourselves? When we start becoming more self-aware, our prejudices begin to lose their power.

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