Skip to main content


Perhaps there is more on this issue that needs to be explored.

Prejudice (from which none of us are free), is a bit self-selective. If you have read GK Chesterton's "Orthodoxy," you may remember his early chapter in which he was talking with an educated type who in the conversation said, "That man will get on in life, He believes in himself."

At that moment, Chesterton said, he saw a bus that proclaimed its destination as "Hanwell" (Hanwell is a well-known mental hospital). He then told the man that Hanwell is full of people who believe in themselves. In fact, many people not in Hanwell who should not still do believe in themselves, including that minster with a dreary novel he wants published and from whom his friend had been hiding to avoid. He believed in himself.

Prejudice is like that. The more prejudiced I am , the more I am likely to explain it away, and th more I am likely to believe that a description of my prejudice doesn't really apply to me. It would, of course, apply to you, but not to me. In fact, the more prejudiced I am, the less I am going to recognize that I am prejudiced.

Therefore, the more prejudiced I am the less likely I am to listen to messages against it.

We don't like our beliefs to be challenged, anyway. So I'll ignore the challenge or I will defend my present prejudice, calling it something else.

So if we're going to try to educate people out of their (and our) prejudices, we'll have to do it very carefully. Education that puts stress on others, that makes them defensive, will not educate.

What will help is intergroup interaction. This doesn't mean basketball games. Competition introduces a negative component into any intergroup communication: competition.

Have you ever played Cranium's "Hoopla" game? It very cleverly removes the factor of competition by making everybody on one team and pits them against the timer.

that's what we need to do in order to tackle the issue of prejudice. Education won't do it, government programs won't do it, nothing external will do it. Only we will (and the others, as well) by getting together and learning from one another.

Might a government program that orders this help? Maybe. But more would be our getting out and getting together with others. Not everybody will want this, but I'll bet that it's the only way that will work.