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  • Writer's pictureKarl Walker-Finch

A non-prejudiced paradox

Updated: Jun 15

Just the idea of the juxtaposed doorways in the Museum of Tolerance in LA wound me up when I heard about them.

The adjacent doorways labelled “UNPREJUDICED” and “PREJUDICED” offended my self-image when I learnt that the unprejudiced door is locked. Nobody can pass through that door.

I believed that I was not prejudiced.

That in a world so unequal, with an endless array of cultures, societies and norms, I felt that lived without bias.

I’m a very tolerant person. I respect every different individual I meet.

I’m willing to learn about people and places disparate to the society I’ve grown up in.

I can’t possibly be prejudiced when I’m so open-minded about the world and everyone in it.

Anyone who isn’t as open-minded as me is prejudiced of course.

Anyone who doesn’t think like me therefore, is prejudiced.

Prejudice - noun - a preconceived opinion that is not based on actual experience.

We can’t live every possible life, having every actual experience possible. We are shaped by our experiences, the people we grow up with, the things that happen to us and to those around us. We are all prejudiced in that we can't possibly know what it's like to live someone else's life.

Our subconscious is hardwired to use our own personal experiences to formulate quick decisions about what we should and shouldn't do, what constitutes a threat, and who we can trust.

Our rational brains can be as liberal as possible but it is impossible to live a life without prejudice. The only thing we can do about this is to accept it this as a self-evident fact and carry on with our lives understanding that we will never know everything.

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