Prejudice (quotes)


Prejudice is an unfavourable opinion formed without just grounds

  • Prejudice: Dislike, hostility, or unjust behaviour deriving from preconceived and unfounded opinions.  Oxford Dictionary
  • Prejudice: An unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge.  Cambridge Dictionary
  • Prejudice: An unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
  • Prejudice: Preconceived judgment or opinion (2) :  an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.  Merriam Webster
  • OpinionJudgementCriticism,  LoveToleranceAcceptance

Prejudice is blind to logic, facts and reason


Prejudice denotes a lack of clear thinking …

  • For those who do not think, it is best at least to rearrange their prejudices once in a while. Luther Burbank
  • Someone has said that it requires less mental effort to condemn than to think. Emma Goldman
  • Man associates ideas not according to logic or verifiable exactitude, but according to his pleasure and interests. It is for this reason that most truths are nothing but prejudices. Remy De Gourmont
  • Orthodoxy is the diehard of the world of thought. It learns not, neither can it forget. Aldous Huxley
  • A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. William James
  • The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class. Walter Lippmann
  • Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds. Albert Einstein
  • Most people wish to be consoled, confirmed. They want their prejudices reinforced and their structured belief systems validated.  After all, it hurts to think, and it’s absolute agony to think twice.  Jennifer Stone
  • Prejudices are the refuge of those who cannot think for themselves. Comtesse Diane
  • The average man never really thinks from end to end of his life. The mental activity of such people is only a mouthing of clichés. H. L. Mencken
  • ThinkingUnderstanding

… a lack of logic …

  • Logic: an instrument used for bolstering a prejudice. Elbert Hubbard
  • Prejudice does not think logically. It does not ask why and remains on the deceptive surface.  The mark of the sage is the lack of prejudice, that of a fool, the lack of thought.  Hans-Ulrich Rieker
  • The much vaunted male logic isn’t logical, because they display prejudices — against half the human race — that are considered prejudices according to any dictionary definition. Eva Figes
  • When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity. Dale Carnegie
  • Logic

… while being overly identified with the thinking mind

  • Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being.  To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.  Eckhart Tolle

Prejudice is a lack of reason or reason distorted

  • No prejudice has even been able to prove its case in the court of reason.
  • Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument. Samuel Johnson
  • Prejudices are what fools use for reason. Voltaire
  • Prejudices are rarely overcome by argument; not being founded in reason they cannot be destroyed by logic. Tryon Edwards
  • Reason transformed into prejudice is the worst form of prejudice, because reason is the only instrument for liberation from prejudice. Allan Bloom
  • Color had been made the mark of enslavement and was taken to be also the mark of inferiority; for prejudice does not reason, or it would not be prejudice… If prejudice could reason, it would dispel itself. William Pickens
  • Prejudice is never easy unless it can pass itself off for reason. William Hazlitt
  • Passion and prejudice govern the world, only under the name of reason. John Wesley
  • Reason is always weak where prejudice is strong. Norman Macdonald
  • Reasoning against a prejudice is like fighting against a shadow; it exhausts the reasoner, without visibly affecting the prejudice. Charles Mildmay
  • Shame upon those ignorant fools who are persuaded by reason into prejudice. Calculus
  • Reason

Prejudice is blind to facts and experience

  • If prejudice could reason or be open to the facts, it would dispel itself
  • Prejudice is a vagrant opinion without visible means of support. Ambrose Bierce
  • Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice. Michael Crichton
  • Prejudices subsist in people’s imagination long after they have been destroyed by their experience. Ernest Dimnet
  • Prejudice cannot see the things that are because it is always looking for things that aren’t.
  • Prejudice is a great timesaver. It enables you to form opinions without bothering to get facts.
  • Prejudice is being down on something you’re not up on.
  • The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it will contract. Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • FactsExperience

Sources of prejudice


Prejudice stems from our social environment …

  • Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social enviroment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions. Albert Einstein
  • At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation, and prejudice. Gore Vidal
  • Common-sense appears to be only another name for the thoughtlessness of the unthinking. It is made of the prejudices of childhood, the idiosyncrasies of individual character and the opinion of the newspapers. Somerset Maugham
  • Our opinions partake, more or less, of the prejudices of our class, party, or sect. We are all largely pledged, through interest, affection, or passion, to particular classes of opinion, and the strength of efforts to get released from these pledges, is the measure of our advancement. Christian Nestell Bovee
  • Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs. Robert Peel
  • Freedom of the press in Britain is freedom to print such of the proprietor’s prejudices as the advertisers won’t object to. Helen Swaffer

…  and upbringing

  • I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to. Alice Walker
  • Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. Albert Einstein
  • Just as a child is born without fear, so it is born without prejudice. Prejudice, like fear, is acquired.  Marie Killilea
  • Teaching prejudice to a child is itself a form of bullying. You’ve got to be taught to hate. Roger Ebert

Prejudice stems from ignorance

  • Prejudice is the child of ignorance. William Hazlitt
  • Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart. Countess of Blessington
  • There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders. Maya Angelou
  • Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated. Kofi Annan
  • Prejudice is a product of ignorance that hides behind barriers of tradition. Jasper Fforde
  • Ignorance is stubborn, and prejudice is hard. Adlai E. Stevenson
  • Prejudice and self-sufficiency naturally proceed from inexperience of the world, and ignorance of mankind. Joseph Addison
  • Ignorance gives a sort of eternity to prejudice, and perpetuity to error. Robert Hall
  • There are only two ways to be quite unprejudiced and impartial. One is to be completely ignorant. The other is to be completely indifferent. Bias and prejudice are attitudes to be kept in hand, not attitudes to be avoided. Charles P. Curtis
  • Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others. William J.H. Boetcker
  • Ignorance

Prejudice stems from prejudgement and premature judgement

  • Constantly I am having to fight and overcome my prejudices because I realize that first impressions and judgments are often misleading. Harvey Day
  • Prejudice is not bigotry or superstition, although prejudice sometimes may degenerate into these. Prejudice is pre- judgment, the answer with which intuition and ancestral consensus of opinion supply a man when he lacks either time or knowledge to arrive at a decision predicated upon pure reason. Russell Kirk
  • Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand …prejudice, fear and ignorance walk hand-in-hand. Peart
  • Too many of our prejudices are like pyramids upside down. They rest on tiny, trivial incidents, but they spread upward and outward until they fill our minds. William McChesney Martin
  • JudgementCriticism

Prejudice stems from insecurity

  • I’m interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice. Clint Eastwood

Prejudice stems from generalising and classification

  • There’s bad apples in whatever way you want to group people – doesn’t matter if it’s religious, political or social. The big mistake is generalizing. Charles de Lint
  • All classification is the root of prejudice. Craig Ferguson

Prejudice stems from religious fanaticism

  • There is no doubt that religious fanatics have done more to prejudice the cause they affect to advocate than have its opponents. Hosea Ballou
  • What religious conversion is not: if it serves us a bit too well, if it reinforces all our prejudices and allows us to call ourselves holy at the expense of others whom we can now judge to be unholy, it is probably not the real thing. Kathleen Norris
  • Fanaticism

The pitfalls of prejudice


Prejudice is a deep-seated vice, hard to overcome

  • Bigotry or prejudice in any form is more than a problem; it is a deep-seated evil within our society. Judith Light
  • I happen to think that the singular evil of our time is prejudice. It is from this evil that all other evils grow and multiply. In almost everything I’ve written there is a thread of this: a man’s seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself. Rod Serling
  • Prejudice is a seeping, dark stain, I think, more difficult to fight than hatred–which is powerful and violent and somehow more honest. Josephine Lawrence
  • Vice

Prejudice shuts out wisdom and the truth

  • He that is possessed with a prejudice is possessed with a devil, and one of the worst kinds of devils, for it shuts out the truth, and often leads to ruinous error. Tryon Edwards
  • The greatest friend of truth is Time, her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion is Humility. Charles Caleb Colton
  • The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice. Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom. Merry Browne
  • Prejudice is the conjuror of imaginary wrongs, strangling truth, over-powering reason, making strong people weak, and weak people weaker. John Macduff
  • Those who are possessed with a prejudice are possessed with a devil, and one of the worst kinds of devils, for it shuts out the truth, and often leads to ruinous error. Tryon Edwards
  • WisdomTruth

What we think people to be is what they’ll become for us

  • Our thoughts are unseen hands shaping the people we meet. Whatever we truly think them to be, that’s what they’ll become for us.  Richard Cowper

Having strong prejudices says things about you, not those you’re prejudiced against

  • …racist thought and action says far more about the person they come from than the person they are directed at. Chris Crutcher
  • The less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice. Clint Eastwood

Prejudice deafens the ear to listening

  • Unless we empty ourselves of preconceived cultural or intellectual images and expectations, we not only cannot understand the Other, we cannot even listen. Indeed, we cannot even feel empathy. M. Scott Peck
  • If we try to listen we find it extraordinarily difficult, because we are always projecting our opinions and ideas, our prejudices, our background, our inclinations, our impulses; when they dominate, we hardly listen at all to what is being said. Krisnamurti
  • Listening

Prejudice is destructive …

  • Inexperience can be overcome, ignorance can be enlightened, but prejudice will destroy you. Mercedes Lackey
  • There are weapons that are simply thoughts. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. Rod Sterling
  • Opinions founded on prejudice are always sustained with the greatest violence. Hebrew Proverb

… to both inner and outer peace

  • Peace does not fare well where poverty and deprivation reign. It does not flourish where there is ignorance and a lack of education and information. Repression, injustice and exploitation are inimical with peace. Peace is gravely threatened by inter-group fear and envy and by the unleashing of unrealistic expectations. Racial, class and religious intolerance and prejudice are its mortal enemies. Frederik W. de Klerk
  • We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Thích Nhat Hạnh
  • Inner peace

Shake off your prejudices


We all have prejudices

  • We all decry prejudice yet are all prejudiced. Herbert Spencer
  • If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon. George Aiken
  • There is no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice. William Hazlitt

Rise above your prejudices and preconceived notions

  • The greatest and noblest pleasure which we have in this world is to discover new truths, and the next is to shake off old prejudices. Frederick II, the Great
  • It is never too late to give up your prejudices.  Henry David Thoreau
  • We are each burdened with prejudice; against the poor or the rich, the smart or the slow, the gaunt or the obese. It is natural to develop prejudices.  It is noble to rise above them.
  • Fairness is man’s ability to rise above his prejudices. Wes Fessler
  • When you approach a problem, strip yourself of preconceived opinions and prejudice, assemble and learn the facts of the situation, make the decision which seems to you to be the most honest, and then stick to it. Chester Bowles

We’re all human beings at the end of the day and no sex or race is superior

  • I’m quite sure that … I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being– that is enough for me he can’t be any worse. Mark Twain
  • I think there’s just one kind of folks.  Harper Lee
  • When we clearly understand that there is no superior sex or superior race, we will have opened the door of communication and laid the foundation for building winning relationships with all people in this global world of ours. Zig Ziglar
  • I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings. Franklin Thomas
  • Racial prejudice: A pigment of the imagination.
  • The fact that we are human beings is infinitely more important than all the peculiarities that distinguish human beings from one another. Simone de Beauvoir
  • Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of people’s skin, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact. Lyndon B. Johnson
  • What does the color of one’s skin tell us that is of any significance about a person? Nothing, of course, absolutely nothing.  It does not say whether the person is warmhearted or kind, clever or witty, or whether that person is good.  Desmond Tutu
  • Equality

See the good in people

  • We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root out prejudice: For you have already given us eyes with which to see the good in all people If we would only use them rightly. Rabbi Jack Riemer
  • Judgements prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances. Wayne Dyer

We need to unlearn what we’ve been taught and learn to love

  • No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Nelson Mandela
  • You’ve got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made, of people whose skin is a different shade. You’ve got to be carefully taught.  Oscar Hammerstein II
  • If you judge people you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa
  • Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. Marianne Williamson
  • Beginner’s mindOpen-mindednessLove

At the very least, recognise and acknowledge your prejudice

  • Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices – just recognize them. Edward Roscoe
  • AcknowledgementAwareness

Dispel prejudice through …


Dispel prejudice through open mindedness and free thinking

  • There’s another kind of open mindedness too, the kind that’s willing to see people for who they really are and admit when you were wrong about them. That’s the part I still need to work on. Kelley Armstrong
  • Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. Leo Tolstoy
  • Prejudices are the refuge of those who cannot think for themselves. Comtesse Diane
  • Open-mindedness

Dispel prejudice through working together

  • In overcoming prejudice, working together is even more effective than talking together. Ralph W. Sockman
  • TeamworkCooperation

Dispel prejudice through education

  • Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones. Charlotte Bronte
  • It’s a universal law– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Two things reduce prejudice: education and laughter. Laurence J. Peter
  • Education

Dispel prejudice through compassion

  • Spiritual energy brings compassion into the real world. With compassion, we see benevolently our own human condition and the condition of our fellow beings.  We drop prejudice.  We withhold judgment.  Christina Baldwin
  • Compassion

Dispel prejudice through using your intelligence and reasoning

  • Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein
  • Men may be divided into two classes, according to the use they make of reason. Some men employ reason, or, as it is more commonly called, SENSE, to defend error by argument; others employ it, to discover and distinguish truth: the power, therefore, which we call SENSE, may exist without its use; and it is only valuable, in proportion as the mind is candid, dispassionate, impartial, and unprejudiced. Fulke Greville
  • Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds. Albert Einstein
  • ReasonLogicIntelligenceWisdom

Dispel prejudice through art

  • There is no prejudice that the work of art does not finally overcome. Andre Gide
  • With photography, I like to create fiction out of reality. I try and do this by taking society’s natural prejudice and giving this a twist. Martin Parr
  • Art

Dispel prejudice through self-knowledge and acceptance

  • Only as you do know yourself can your brain serve you as a sharp and efficient tool. Know your own failings, passions, and prejudices so you can separate them from what you see. Bernard Baruch
  • Prejudice can go very deep. It is only healed when we end the war within and accept those parts of ourselves we find so unacceptable. Then we will have the courage to accept those who are different from us, who have different beliefs, who are a different color, or who live differently.  When we can tolerate ourselves, then we can be tolerable toward others and extend kindness to all equally. Ed and Deb Shapiro
  • Self-knowledgeAcceptance

Dispel prejudice through hospitality

  • Hospitality means we take people into the space that is our lives and our minds and our hearts and our work and our efforts. Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step towards dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.  Joan Chittister
  • Hospitality

Dispel prejudice through scientific evidence

  • Science replaces private prejudice with public, verifiable evidence. Richard Dawkins
  • Scientists, especially when they leave the particular field in which they are specialized, are just as ordinary, pig-headed, and unreasonable as everybody else, and their unusually high intelligence only makes their prejudices all the more dangerous. Hans J. Eysenck
  • Science

Dispel prejudice through stilling the mind

  • If we try to listen we find it extraordinarily difficult, because we are always projecting our opinions and ideas, our prejudices, our background, our inclinations, our impulses; when they dominate, we hardly listen at all to what is being said. In that state there is no value at all. One listens and therefore learns, only in a state of attention a state of silence in which this whole background is in abeyance, is quiet; then, it seems to me, it is possible to communicate. Krisnamurti
  • Thus meditating you will no longer strive to build yourself up in your prejudices, but, forgetting self, you will remember only that you are seeking the Truth. James Allen
  • StillnessMeditation

Dispel prejudice through travel

  • He who never leaves his country is full of prejudices. Pamela Goldoni
  • Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. Mark Twain
  • The rule for traveling abroad is to take our common sense with us, and leave our prejudices behind. William Hazlitt
  • Travel

Dispel prejudice through embracing the unfamiliar

  • There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor. George Santayana

On a lighter note

  • A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.  William James
  • But I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind. Eric Hoffer
  • Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. Albert Einstein
  • Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by the age of eighteen.  Albert Einstein
  • Getting out of jury duty is easy. The trick is to say you’re prejudiced against all races.  Homer Simpson
  • He had one eye and the popular prejudice runs in favor of two.  Charles Dickens
  • Hypocrisy: prejudice with a halo. Ambrose Bierce
  • I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally. C. Fields
  • I hope that someday we will be able to put away our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people. Jack Handey
  • I never read a book before reviewing it – it prejudices a man so. Sydney Smith
  • If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
  • If you’re a sexist, racist, homophobe, or basically an arsehole, don’t buy this CD. I don’t care if you like me, I hate you. Kurt Cobain
  • More than 150 heads of state attended the UN Summit giving New Yorkers a chance to get in touch with prejudices they didn’t even know they had.  Jon Stewart
  • Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts. B. White
  • Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety. Ben Hecht
  • Prejudice: A great time-saver that enables one to form opinions without bothering to get the facts.
  • Prejudiced people are all alike.
  • Racial prejudice: A pigment of the imagination.
  • Xenophobia doesn’t benefit anybody unless you’re playing high-stakes Scrabble. Dennis Miller