It may, acceptably, be said that prejudice, against “other” groups of people, as an abstract concept, is not based on reason, or, even actual exposure. We often find it useful to refer to the English philosopher, John Locke, who famously, stated that Man is born with a blank slate, (“tabula rasa”) and that all of his knowledge is acquired by his empirical experience. It may confidently, be said, that the individual mindset for dislike of any group, inarguably, is taught, and reinforced by others, so inclined.
The earliest and most enduring indoctrination in discrimination often is unintended but, nevertheless, is perpetrated by well-intentioned, but insufficiently sensitive, parents and family. In the course of instructing their young child as to his familial and ethnic identity, responsible parents should consciously avoid the impactful and unintended (exclusionary) lesson of the words, “we,” and “they” and, beneficially, in the course of familiarizing the child with his newly acquired, ethnic identity, to do so, in the inclusive context of the existence and acceptability, of other cultures and belief systems. This is the first and, it is submitted, the most crucial (and enduring) prophylactic step against bigotry; the societal importance of which to the body politic, is as vital as the infant’s inoculation against diphtheria. To do otherwise is to permanently, instill in the young mind, the chronic pandemic of ethnocentric preference, or even, hatred.
The perverse and life-distorting lesson of bigotry is an infectious and virulent toxin, perpetuated by its own destructive pathology of pernicious speech and unhealthy atmosphere. Ambient, hateful or insulting references, socially perpetuate the creation of an atmosphere, redolent with the foul odor of their familiar but perverse acceptability. However, the principles of public morality and human dignity, permit no occasion, whatsoever, for the tolerance of ethnic or, racially, bigoted remarks.
There appears to exist, certain individuals who are, at a minimum, uncomfortably, aware of their feelings who, to avoid negative personal feelings about themselves, when they act or speak on such matters, attempt to construe some (purportedly) justifiable, reason. Yet, there are numerous others, who have long been schooled in the art of social hatred, who, customarily, (and shamelessly) seek the company of others who share in their social pathology.
The baseline principles of human morality and dignity, concededly, would permit no occasion, whatsoever, for the acceptability or tolerance of bigotry, ethnic, racist or sexual. The salient question remains that, since prejudice is learned, can it be unlearned? We would surmise that the success rate in such an endeavor would be less than desirable; however, the principles of common morality, as well as our traditional American (and humanistic) inclinations oblige us to keep trying.
It is our considered view that the proper upbringing of children, (from earliest childhood) in a humanistic, principled, household is the most effective, permanent assurance of future social rectitude. As to others, long soiled by the contaminants of bigotry and hatred, conceivably, the encouragement of multi-racial-ethnic, social interaction (i.e. picnics, dinners, sports attendance) might be of assistance in disabusing the haters of their groundless, predisposed antipathy.