Prejudice means judgment in advance.
A Bigoted person is intolerably devoted to his or her own opinion.
Prejudice comes from the Latin words that mean “pre” and “judge”. We all have it; we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t.
It’s also called opinion, that thing that is formed by our culture, by our experiences, by our environment, by our neighborhoods and schools. Where we live and who we live with. All of that shapes our opinions. It shapes the first impression.
I’ve felt the sting of prejudice. Let me tell you a story.
Now, I admit I’m a bit of an eccentric. I don’t fall into a typical category. Not a graduate of any university, I barely made it through high school. I graduated from a trade school–local 1266. I’ve helped run a Ranch as a working hand. I also built a financial consulting business and had, at the time of this story, my own TV show.
I dress when I fly on an airplane. Oxford shirt, bowtie, chino pants, loafers, the whole thing.
I was connecting to a difficult flight out of Chicago one winter. Our connecting flight had been canceled three different times.
We were at the third kiosk being informed that that flight would not be in for several more hours. The airline employee was being bombarded by all kinds of fury. When she saw me, she grimaced.
When I got to her I made a point of smiling and saying, “Wow I bet you’ve had a hell of a day. Hey, if you can get me on another flight, fine. If you can’t, that’s fine as well.” What she said next is my point. “Oh Gee, thank you so very much! You know when I first saw you I thought there is some asshole college professor just gonna ream me out because he hasn’t been able to connect with his most important flight.”
She then told me to standby till she cleared out the crowd, and she’d see what she could do to upgrade me to first class and get me out immediately.
Her grimace, however, told me all I needed to know about how she felt about nerdy looking college professor-types. Pre-judged, you see. We all have it.