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Your Prejudice Is NOT An Opinion

In our society, being informed is a priority. We depend on the news, education and our own experiences to understand what surrounds us. In the meantime, that information serves as the basis for choices, decisions, and positions based, in turn, on opinions and prejudice. Hold your horses! What’s the difference between these concepts?

Well, if you’re deciding with your friend which ice cream flavor you’re going to eat and you choose passionfruit because it feels fresher or it tastes better, then you have an opinion. On the other hand, if you’re deciding with your friend whether you’ll go or not to that ice cream store because the person behinds the cash register looks, to you, physically unhealthy and you heard they’re always distracted and monotonous, and you eventually decide to not get ice cream there, then you’re being prejudiced. 

Dictionary.com defines opinion as “a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty” (which also includes a clarification of this term versus a fact, but that’s a topic for another day) and “the formal expression of professional judgment”. You form an opinion after educating yourself correctly on a topic, therefore having a basis to decide before emitting that opinion. 

In contrast, prejudice, defined by the same source, is “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” Disinformation and judgment mark prejudices because no time was spent in investigating what’s behind the curtain of said prejudices. 

Going back to the example of going out for ice cream, considering passionfruit as a fresh and favorite ice cream flavor is still an opinion, and visiting the ice cream store regardless of what you’ve heard of the person who works there, is the justest thing to do. It’s more responsible because you ignored what you haven’t confirmed yet; responsible because you do it by yourself, and because you choose to be correctly informed. You can find out for yourself, in this example, why that person looks or acts like that and reflect on how you feel or act about it.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I encourage you to read, to ask, to go around where your curiosity takes you. 

I do not guarantee that your opinion saves lives. Sometimes it can hurt people, but at least with an informed opinion, you make sure of where you’re standing and with whom, even when there is so much more to learn. You aren’t living with just a vague idea of what has been said around. It is different from prejudice, which could lead you to lose bigger opportunities that could serve a source of knowledge and personal growth. 

Don’t stop going out for that ice cream until you actually get to know the ones who serve it, if it’s truly necessary. You’re going to be surprised by how this could improve how you manage your personal space and energy with others.