I wrote this after watching a Trevor Noah stand up routine on Youtube about prejudice. I like Trevor Noah.
Prejudice - preconceived opinions that are not based on reason or actual experience - is ubiquitous because it satisfies an evolutionary utility. Even if one’s definition of prejudice is nothing but tribal favoritism there is still this other picture of it hovering in society, a picture of malicious bias. Is there room to praise the evolutionary utilitarian virtues of prejudice even though the word itself has such a bad reputation now that it's become almost impossible to use it except pejoratively? Determining what its utility or function is is a mystery, complicated by the fact that there are different types of prejudice functioning differently simultaneously in the human psyche and in society. Maybe the utility stems from an early stage in our brain’s development - a species or tribal chauvinism that contributed to survival then, but is an anachronism now - in other words, not utilitarian at all anymore.
This morning I acted with prejudice/favoritism/bias in favor of jam toast against the measurable merits of my usual fare, cereal. I was very purposeful in my anti-cereal decision. If your definition of prejudice features harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgment, then cereal advocates might say that my toast decision hurt the interests of the cereal and the cereal industry.
I have a habit of approaching issues from a contrary perspective as a strategy to test the soundness of propositions and the validity of the argument formula.
Admittedly, that is an innocuous form of prejudice. Some might deny that it's prejudice at all, and accuse me of mocking the gravity of a real issue. I have to explain myself by saying that I have a habit of approaching issues from a contrary perspective as a strategy to test the soundness of propositions and the validity of the argument formula. In this case, does discrimination in personal choices use the same, or at least comparable formula as other forms of discrimination, i.e. sexual, racial, ethnic, etc.? If it does, then the argument ought to be somewhat symmetrical and work in both directions. I suggest that even if I am wrong it is worth it to get this far as a way to encourage people to think about the formulae of speech and how they apply to thought and behavior.
In the process, people might (wrongly) accuse me of supporting outdated, outrageous or unpopular opinions, when I think I am aiming for existential clarity while trying to support clearer thinking in the pursuit of broad values of acceptance, all the while having fun doing it.