Social Question

Jeruba's avatar

What harmless prejudices do you indulge?

Asked by Jeruba (41919 points ) September 22nd, 2012

I’m using “prejudice” in the second sense, as defined here: that is, an opinion formed in advance of or without knowledge or information.

For example, when I was a kid I thought nobody would give a horrid-sounding name like “mushroom” to something that was any good, so I refused to even taste mushrooms and declared that I hated them. That was silly but, all in all, harmless (and I outgrew it).

I’m not here to entertain arguments about why no prejudices are harmless or argue about the meaning of the word. I’m asking where in your life you go ahead and let irrational biases influence your thoughts or actions.

In my case, for example, if the sight of an author’s name irritates me, I won’t read any of the person’s books. It’s not as if there weren’t plenty of other things to read, and at my age I don’t need anyone telling me what I can’t miss. I don’t claim that the books have no value—only that I don’t want to read them. It’s a perfectly harmless private indulgence, and one that I have never even tried to explain or justify to anyone.

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23 Answers

zensky's avatar

I hear ya.

I have a problem with names I can’t readily decipher or pronounce, either because of their spelling or because they are foreign.

I find myself instantly biased. It is stupid and ridiculous and most of the time I get over it quickly and continue (with the book, article, etc.) but nonetheless, the prejudice is there.

ragingloli's avatar

My opinion about creatures like these

cazzie's avatar

If the cookie is broken, the calories have fallen out, so I don’t need to count it.

Topping up my wine glass before it is empty does not count as ‘more wine’.

If a child addresses me as ‘hey, you’ instead of Miss, Madam or my proper name, they are ignored.

I can’t stand a certain famous actress only because I found out we shared a lover at one point. (true story)

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Anyone who complains about modern anything (music, movies, equal rights).
Yeah let’s all go back to the 50s with rampant misogyny and racism!~

Pazza's avatar

I couldn’t really think of anything, then I clicked @ragingloli link and remembered how pent up and angry I get when I hear lobby-ed bribed politicians speaking.

But then I remember the whole political system isn’t evil. And there are some good guys out there:

Paul Flynn MP Suspended from Parliament After Calling for Afghanistan Withdrawal
Lord James of Blackheath: 15 Trillion Dollar Fraud Exposed in UK Parliment

Kayak8's avatar

At this point, if it even LOOKS like a political commercial, I mute the TV. I tend not to purchase traditionally grown product (prefer organic) just to try and avoid genetically modified stuff. I also tend to dislike small dogs just on sight.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

It is not a harmless prejudice, but I don’t fly for fate will surely down the aircraft causing me to be responsible for their deaths.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

When an adult whose house or office is filled with stuffed animals or dolls, then it becomes a mental battle to overcome the prejudice. It’s one thing to collect a certain type, but just to have them around for emotional support sort of creeps me out.

ucme's avatar

That all of the people in eeh-merry-ka love cheese.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m starting to think that some of us are confusing “prejudice” with “stereotype” or “sweeping generalization” in this thread.

gondwanalon's avatar

@zensky You touched a nerve with me about names. But for me it isn’t so much about prejudice as it it about survival. Yes I also struggle with names. I work in healthcare and I have to pay very close attention to names and there is no tolerance for mistakes or discrepancies in spelling. My job is very stressful and I certainly get no relief from the seemingly infinite variety and never ending onslaught of peculiar names. There are the funny and weird names. Some sound like a vulgar word. There are some really odd native american names that have caused much confusion where I work. Sometimes sibling children present with very similarly spelled first names. Also the very strangely spelled long foreign names with lots of consonants that seem impossible to pronounce makes my job more difficult than than it is already. Thank goodness that I have the medical record numbers (MRN) to double check and verify the correct patient.

One time I recieved a lab requisition on a very common name like John Smith. But the MRN didn’t match. Then I realized that there were two John Smiths’ in our hospital at the same time. That was scary. When I told this to my colleagues, I saw sheer terror in their eyes.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m not sure it is harmless. If nothing, you are admitting that you are superseding your reason for emotional reactions. In what other arenas do you find this type of harmlessness acceptable?

I try to never let such harmlessness occur. I have a lot of prejudices, but I try not to let it cloud my judgment about individual people, or things, as it were.

BBawlight's avatar

I have a thing against paper that isn’t completely white or perfect.

Trillian's avatar

I think I know what you mean. When I was younger, I didn’t want to eat “mean” foods. I saw cartoons of food fighting in someone’s stomach, and in the fridge. The onions always had angry looks on their faces, for instance. So I didn’t eat or even want to try onions for years.
I assume that a man wearing a ball cap inside a building is a disrespectful jerk. I have to have conversations with myself, reminding me that they probably never heard that it was impolite. I also have to force myself to speak to men who speak to me while wearing a hat. I know that I’m probably the only one in the conversation who considers it disrespectful.
I also think that people who wear flip flops are probably not stupid, which is my initial, knee-jerk reaction when I hear that noise. But I still mutter to myself about it in my head.

BBawlight's avatar

@Trillian I think like that, too. I just hate it when people wear hats indoors!

woodcutter's avatar

If a TV commercial comes on loud as hell, louder than everything else I would not even consider looking into what ever product it is hawking

Those suddenly loud adverts always scare the hell out of me and it pisses me off.

jaytkay's avatar

I assume people with British accents are well-read and high-brow.

augustlan's avatar

If a certain food looks or seems gross (to me), then I am certain I won’t like it. So I won’t even try it. For all I know, I might love the baby octopus that’s on the buffet in the Chinese restaurant. But the rubbery look of them and the idea of swallowing suckers turns me off, so I’ll never find out. I’m ok with that.

Trillian's avatar

Ok, I’ve never eaten pastrami or corned beef. I don’t know what it means to “corn” beef, but it does not appeal to me. The word pastrami sounds unappealing, so I have never tried it. Nor have I ever eaten a “brisket”. I have a picture in my head of a fat “apron” which I get every time I see or hear the word.

woodcutter's avatar

@augustlan I think you should avoid the suckers. For some reason that tray is always full…always.

Unbroken's avatar

Long hair on males… yes I talk to them but I just can’t take them seriously. overtly religious people, most of them never know it but I find myself anxious to leave their company.. audible chewing in silent room. Sometimes it can’t be helped but it is really annoying. People who won’t learn how to spell. It’s not like the English language is new. I understand typos or moments of dyslexic haste also moments where you spell words to portray emphasis but just not knowing… there are few that have a good excuse.

cazzie's avatar

@rosehips you have managed to describe more of mine, but I didn’t think of before. Long hair on males is a bad point right now, Hubby is sporting something that looks like Robert Plant circa 1982.

Unbroken's avatar

@cazzie haha I have no idea who Robert Plant is but good for you to resist cutting off his hair as he slept. As it so happens, I managed to think of more later but will refrain from adding them.

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