Definition: Prejudice is a preconceived, unfavorable opinion about someone or something, formed with inadequate knowledge, thought, or reason.
Symptoms: While deeply-rooted prejudices have often been evident in many athletes due to their up-bringing or social surroundings, coaches have also been guilty of letting prejudice control their attitudes toward players.
Solutions: From the article “How to Stop Being Judgmental and Prejudiced” at www.wikihow.com.
Confront Your Prejudice
1 – Learn why prejudice exists. People have a tendency to be drawn to those similar to them and to judge those who are different.
2 – Reach out to people who are different. Once you understand the irrational nature of prejudiced thoughts, actively challenge your assumptions. With practice, you can actually abandon some prejudicial responses adopted early in life.
3 – Recognize when you are judging someone. Even if you work hard to be aware of your attitudes, you will still judge people at times. Remind yourself of what you do not know about a person and seek to learn more.
4 – Figure out the roots of your prejudice. Be aware of any past experiences that have affected how you judge a large group of people and determine to stop letting them influence your current opinions.
5 – Accept that you not have to be prejudiced. Just because you have the capacity for prejudiced beliefs does not mean that you are doomed to such thought patterns.
Change How You View Others
1 – Think about how your view of yourself affects your view of others. Judgmental persons often have strict standards for their own conduct. Before leaping to judgment about another, reflect on yourself.
2 – Consider another person’s perspective before judging. Everyone around you has a unique history and personality that affects their behavior. Consider those factors before resorting to judgment.
3 – Look for basic goodness in everyone. If you tend to look for the worst in everyone, you’re more likely to judge someone’s behavior. Pay attention to the small, kind things that people do.
4 – Remind yourself of the reasons behind prejudice. An active awareness of the roots of prejudice is necessary when interacting with others. To categorize people as part of the “in-group” (people like you) and the “out-group” (people different than you) may come naturally, but it is very self-limiting.
5 – See people as individuals and not groups. Try to judge everyone you meet as an individual, and resist judging a whole group of people by the negative actions of one person.
Expand Your Worldview
1 – If possible, travel outside of your immediate area and learn to appreciate the ways of others.
2 – Get involved in work that benefits humanity. When working toward a common goal, prejudice tends to fall aside. The environment, for example, is something everyone has an investment in saving.
3 – Enroll in a course on prejudice. The more you understand prejudice, the more you can recognize it in yourself. If you are not a student, free course materials are available online from some universities.
4 – Adopt a lighthearted outlook. Some studies have indicated that mood can actually affect prejudice.
If you find yourself in a bad mood, do something to lighten up a little. If you’re going into a situation where you fear you may judge others, prepare beforehand by doing something relaxing. Everyone will benefit!