After all the research is said and done, science and common sense tell us we are prejudiced creatures, wholly into self preservation. Well, duh. Again.
Sometimes we need science to prove our beliefs wrong. Other times we need science to tell us what we already know. Is there such a thing as ethnocetric behavior completely devoid of bias or prejudice?
Perhaps, though rare. The opposite is far more commonplace, despite laws and mores against displays of prejudice, it perisists on many levels of human action and interaction.
One problem to note is that prejudice and discrimination, though common to us all, perhaps hard-wired to our genes, does not mean that either one cannot be overcome by education, training, and environmental influences. In fact, much of what allows various ethnocentric groups to move comfortably within other groups of society, is the ability to tolerate and accept; to learn and adjust actions accordingly.
The pragmatism of mutual cooperation often overcomes initial tendencies to exert prejudicial or discriminatory actions. How do humans overcome basic emotions of fear and anger and selfishness, and whatever urges for retribution may exist, to cooperate and enjoy the differences between us?
Hard-wired carries with it the implication or connotation of an unchangeable trait. Unconscious biases can, and often are, reduced by familiarity, education, experience.
In other words, we learn, we gain knowledge and experience, we examine our behaviors and the results of our actions, analyze, make adjustments and move on.
If we so desire, we can pretend to be completely free of bias and prejudice, despite feelings and urges contrary to the ideal. We can also take a pragmatic course and recognize that movement from prejudice to cooperation can be in our best interests, and, remarkably, in the best interests of those whom we may not like for whatever the reason.
We educate, we learn, we adapt, we move forward, we evolve. And then there’s Glenn Beck.