The 4 Dimensions of Prejudice
Only one person on this planet had no prejudices and he was crucified for it.
1 Samuel 16: 7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
People throw around the word prejudice and bigotry so easily nowadays, as if they are not immune themselves. There are all kinds of prejudices and discriminatory practices many of which go unnoticed. Most focus on what is in the news, journals and television; however, humans come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, lifestyles, intelligence levels, geographic determinants and cultural variances. So, to condemn some for prejudicial attitudes is often accompanied by the lack of recognition of the same behaviors in themselves toward groups not in the news.
Although each of our own prejudices may be influenced by psychology, culture and history [volumes about this], we can sum up the levels or dimensions of prejudice thusly:
1. Physical - race, age, gender; do we exhibit prejudicial behaviors according to skin color or perhaps toward the elderly? even the young? Teenagers?
2. Culture - ethnicity, education, religion, appearance or dress; Catholics or Jews? college or non college educated? How about hair styles? Neighborhood, gated community or ghetto?
Exodus 22: 21
“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
3. Communication - work style, language; some of us are detail oriented, some action orients - do their work styles annoy? group oriented, individualistic ? speaker of another language or English with an accent? Political orientation?
4. Status - type of work or position, white collar or blue collar? income; got something against the supervisor or other level, the colleague recently promoted, seniority, years of service, the country club member,
Galatians 3: 28
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Finally, historically the experience of the European colonialists began to promote a world wide prejudice toward the economically dominated. In its quest for power and wealth, Asians, Indians, Africans were relegated to a secondary status. Competition among nations and among individuals within nations begot negative attitudes toward both the less fortunate and more fortunate.
Philippians 2: 3-4
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In all, we each have work to do on these matters for there is only one person who ever existed on this planet without personal prejudices, yet had sound judgement. A person we can learn from, his name was Jesus Christ.
Want to know about prejudice - seek out “The Nature of Prejudice” by Gordon Allport, the definitive study and the classic for 70 years.