What Flawed Thinking Is The Root of Prejudice?

Critical thinking is essential to Emotional Intelligence, but we all  fall prey to flawed thinking. Hate any group, then you are generalizing and prejudiced.

#quotes to combat prejudice, Einstiein, Bronte, Lee, Eastwood

A red headed bully got to me when I was five. Sadly I still have to remind my self all redheads are not the same.  Prejudice s a passion.

Not that we don’t need passion; however, we also need thought. All the advice to think with your heart or follow your gut dismisses the need to think. What your heart of gut says are signals about what matters to you, but only signals. Moreover, passion signals are primitive signals.   A hungry infant cries passionately so some one will rush to feed him.  Parents react passionately when a child is running toward the street to keep the child safe. Passionate anger energizes you when you need to fight for your life;  if you cannot win that fight, fear  signals you to flee.  Finally, love starts as passionate lust calling you to keep the species alive.

Then, once we start laying down ideas about what is, another passionate need arises. That  need? To think what we know is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

At a very basic level, that means we need to know that when we walk across a floor it will stay solid and hold us up. Think how slow our progress would be if we had to test each step for safety.

Want proof? Consider the power players  who  use religious beliefs  to enlist combatants. Thinking you are “Saved for Eternity” by your religion comforts. Thinking others are damned because they do not believe as you do excuses dismissive, angry, or violent treatment of the “other.”

The way out of such conflicts is to marry your heart and your brain. This is most necessary when you believe most passionately you are right. Why all the sages of the ages say “Love is Blind.”

Emotional Fitness Training Tips

Tip One: Hold on to your passionate beliefs, but  remember this definition of faith: a strong or unshakable belief in something but without proof or evidence.

The but part matters most. If faith is what cannot be proved  space is opened  for others to believe differently. All faiths including that of an atheist or pagan lack proof which is why miracles are sought to bolster faith.

What about miracles? These  are unexpected and unexplained happenings. Could be God at work, could be happen stance at work.  Same for faith healings, some are healed, others are not.

The point? Don’t take beliefs that counter you faith seriously, either group could be right, either group wrong and most likely each has captured part of a larger truth humans will never fully understand. Judge behavior, not faiths.

Tip two: Stay safe. Be particularly wary of personal beliefs that push risk taking. Called by some “The Curse of Personal Knowledge,” clinging to  personal beliefs  based on instinct, intuition, common sense, and the teachings of others that  are not proven facts diminishes your hold on reality. Not good.

Think of the child who jumps down a stair case because he believes that by wearing a superman cape he can fly. Or the mentally ill person who jumps off a roof believing the voices in his head that tell him they will save him.

Think of the driver who speeds to his death  having been  urged on by the advertisers more interested in selling than safety  to push the limits. .

Tip Three: Worry most about kindness or cruelty. And that involves kindness to all living creatures not just your tribe or your loved ones. This will help you be kinder and more forgiving.

Mainly, I follow Bishop Tutu’s  thoughts about  forgiveness, ” In forgiving, people are not being asked to forget. On the contrary, it is important to remember, so that we should not let such atrocities happen again. Forgiveness does not mean condoning what has been done. It means taking what happened seriously…drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens our entire existence ….and not seeking revenge.”


Tip one: Do not worry about critical thinking during  the early years. Kids are not programmed to think critically until the teen years.

Tip two: Early on invoke the Respect for All Living Things Rule. Demonstrate an attitude of respect for others beginning with how you differ from others, how your children differ from each other.

Tip three: Use stories, books and the media to talk about differences particularly stereotypes that foster prejudices. 

Tip four: Judge behavior as cruel or kind.


Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting. All three help keep me going.

Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult, but exercises like this one lets me find the good.


This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt

It Builds Character: Tell us about a favorite character from film, theater, or literature, with whom you’d like to have a heart-to-heart. What would you talk about?

However, media shapes beliefs, mostly as we are drawn to the media that speak most passionately to our hearts.  Seeing Bambi fostered my sense animals needed protecting. Romeo and Juliet spoke to me about the joy of young love and the dangers. A Man For All Seasons spoke to me about being willing to stand up for your beliefs.


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)Emotional Fitness Tips for Parents  (parentsarepeopletoo.com)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)



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