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Perceptions of Prejudice
Racial prejudice is an insidious moral and social disease affecting peoples and populations all over the world. It is diagnosed by the cataloguing of its various symptoms and manifestations which include fear, intolerance, separation, segregation, discrimination, and hatred. While all of these symptoms of racial prejudice may be manifest, the single underlying cause of racial prejudice is ignorance. Historically, a race of people is defined as a population with distinguishable biological features. Indeed, humans are outwardly different in appearance; the problem arises when the symptoms of the disease become evident: intolerance, separation, and hatred. In a positive vein, one may embrace the differences of peoples across the face of the earth and marvel at the uniqueness of individuals who live on a different part of the globe or across the street. Racial prejudice perverts this uniqueness of the races and takes the view that these differences separate individuals further into groups, with one group being inferior to the other. Racial prejudice has shaped the form of our present day societies; indeed, prejudice has shaped societies since time began. As far back as the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob living in the land of Goshen, peoples have been subjugated due to their differences. Beyond all of the spiritual implications of the nation of Israel living in Egypt, it is evident that the Egyptians feared the Israelites. Wherever there are differences, there is fear, intolerance, and injustice.
From Hitler and the Nazis to the Southern American slave owners, prejudice of one race against another has resulted in atrocities. To counteract the disease of racial prejudice, modern-day societies have drafted and enacted legislation to ensure that people "treat" each other with respect and dignity allowing one another their inalienable right to their pursuit of life and liberty. While man's actions can be legislated, their hearts and fears cannot. Thus, society continues to suffer from the disease. Forums, coalitions, and initiatives continue to be formed to foster unity, understanding, and tolerance.
The best answer may be found in the Bible: "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
While all humans belong to the same species, Homo sapiens, races are distinguished from one another by such characteristics as hair color and texture, skin color, eye color and shape, size of limb and body parts, and facial organs. Though scientists have reached the conclusion that these differences amongst peoples are superficial and have further agreed that all members of the species Homo sapiens have more characteristics in common than different, mankind itself continues to view each other from the features that are outwardly perceived.