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All people are prejudiced by nature

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/5/2015 Category: People
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 325 times Debate No: 82110
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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: an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc.

: a feeling of like or dislike for someone or something especially when it is not reasonable or logical
NB - I am not entirely comfortable with this definition - in fact I think it is incorrect. However, it is one of the official definitions so that is what we shall work with. I will be making comments on this definition.

By Nature -

: essentially or innately

I will argue for the motion that all people, as a product of their own innate, unavoidable human characteristics, hold prejudices, or, 'irrational' pre-judgments of a certain class of people, even if they are unaware of the existence of some said prejudices, or openly deny the holding of said prejudices.

This motion was inspired by a great many number of opinions on this site that;
(a) The expression of discriminatory/prejudiced views should be litigated
(b) Loss of free speech is an acceptable sacrifice in moving towards a world of equality
(c) Counter-prejudice is justified
(d) Seriousness and severity of prejudices are weighted according to their target group (related to point c).

Round 1 - acceptance
Your argument may follow any format you deem necessary.



I do not believe that all people are prejudiced by nature. I think that something may have happened in a childhood or past of someone who is prejudiced against another person or race or class. I also think that a prejudiced person may have misunderstood (purposely or accidently) history and have a serious dislike for that race class or specific persons. Also would you please provide an example of why a person would be prejudiced and to whom.
Debate Round No. 1


I did say only acceptance for round 1 but I'll let it slide.

But what you are saying is exactly that which I am arguing for.

*Something may have happened in the past* which would have made that person prejudiced.

*I also think that a prejudiced person may have misunderstood (purposely or accidently) history and have a serious dislike for that race class or specific persons.*
It is likely in this case that the person already had the prejudice, and that is why they misinterpreted it as such. Or they had societal pressures which inclined them to think this way (in which case, again, they were already prejudiced to begin with).

*Also would you please provide an example of why a person would be prejudiced and to whom.*
Completely hypothetical situation:
- In my life I have had 4 abusive husbands, one of whom I nearly lost my life too. I now hate men.
- Why? Because the majority of instances between me and men has resulted in me getting hurt. It was facilitated because those men were stronger than me and more prone to have strong views with clashed with my own.
- I think its safer for me if I just stay away from men.


Opening Argument:

It has been shown that all people form prejudices based on;

The category-based route. The first is a category-based route as proposed by Maddox & Gray (2002) based on traditional approaches to social representation and judgment (Brewer, 1988; Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). Through this route, processing of the target's phenotypic features results in racial categorization, based on a single, salient feature (e.g., skin tone) or a global assessment of multiple features (Blair et al., 2002; Livingston & Brewer, 2002). At this point, the individual may be placed into a relevant subcategory as a function of racial phenotypicality (e.g., light-skinned or dark-skinned) depending on the perceiver's conceptual framework. Only salient subcategory representations may guide the process of categorization. Subcategory use is more or less likely depending on person characteristics or contextual cues present in the judgment context (Maddox & Chase, 2004). In that study, the use of skin tone-based subcategories of Blacks was augmented through a manipulation that made salient learned distinctions between light- and dark-skinned Blacks. Once fit between the target and (sub) category membership is established, associated stereotypes or prejudices (Maddox & Gray, 2002) may be used in interpersonal judgments.

The feature-based route. The second route is feature-based; influencing social perception apart from the traditional range of category-based processing. This route employs direct associations between phenotypic features and stereotypic traits (Blair et al., 2002) or prejudices (Livingston & Brewer, 2002). These associations may be learned over time, or reflect innate knowledge of social information that may be overgeneralized to other individuals with similar features (Zebrowitz, 1996). An important aspect of this route is that phenotype continues to influence target judgments in situations even when racial categorization overrides within-race variation through the category-based route (Blair et al., 2002). Furthermore the information that features convey will be applied regardless of the target's racial category membership (Blair et al., 2002; Secord, 1958; Zebrowitz, 1996) and is less subject to conscious control (Blair, Chapleau, & Judd, 2005).

The role of conceptual knowledge. The model also recognizes varieties of conceptual knowledge that may guide the processing of target attributes through both the category-based route and the feature-based route. Possibilities include metaphorical associations with various colors (Secord, 1958), early childhood experiences with light and dark (Williams, Boswell, & Best, 1975), essentialist beliefs (Haslam, Rothschild, & Ernst, 2002), implicit causal theories (Medin & Ortony, 1989), cultural standards of physical attractiveness (Breland, 1998), and beliefs about the relationship between physical features and personality (Livingston, 2001). Each of these and others may contribute to category-based and/or feature-based judgments.

Source -

In this case, they are only referring to race/race-generalised features, but Im sure it is extendable to other forms of prejudice, as your brain would work in much the same way independant of the target feature/characteristic.
So, we have established that all people form generalisations on a person purely by way of their characteristics.
This is confirmed to have a neurological basis, though they have not pinpointed it exactly.
Source -;

So, to the argument of whether or not it is innate. I'd begin by saying that, as it is observed in large enough populations that research was able to be conducted on it, that yes, it is innate to human nature.
The other argument proporting it as a part of human nature is a postulation, but a fairly strong one; the postulation that humans do it as a form of protection (I can't find the link but I have read it before).
To explain, I will refer back to the abuse story; for that woman, in preservation of herself, would do far better to just stay away from men. Though there may be men out there who would not threaten her life, happiness, or livelihood, in her case, she's been so unlucky (or in fact, she was attracted to features in men which lended to abuse, and so the chance of her finding a 'good' man would be very poor), that she would be better off avoiding them.
Human's drive for survival is very strong, and I postulate that prejudices assist humans greatly in their survival. And thus we are so vunerable to snap judgements.

There is at this point, however, something you can do as a person to combat the potential effects of your prejudices. For example, when you meet, say, in the case of the lady, a man, and you meet his ex-wives and his family, and nothing points towards that man being abusive at all. Though you may still hold a prejudice against men, the particular case of that man can appeal to you on a rational basis, and so you can drop your prejudice in the particular case.

You can also make yourself aware of your own prejudice, so that you can combat it. For example, say you are a racist, and a person of another race enters your work place. Your mind might be telling you that he is going to be useless, but if you say to yourself *no, there is no evidence to suggest that he is, I am going to look at him as a singularity* then you can curb your prejudice.
Note that this is only suitable if the reason for your prejudice can accomodate this; in the case of the abused woman, it is safer for her to wait until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the man is not abusive, as the severity/danger to her is much more pertinent than just thinking someone is an idiot.

An additional thing you can do, is to educate yourself on the social aspects of a prejudice. Say for instance, you grew up being a racist because your parents were/your community was; but then you move away/are surrounded by more people of differing races that are competent enough to challenge your previous thought/watch media which paints all races as equal etc. In this way, your prejudice will be shifted; and I say shifted because it will not go away - in fact, your prejudice may shift all the way to the point where you say that your race is the inferior one. But it will never shift to a point where you see all races as equal. You may be able to intellectually, but the way your mind works will never be able to accomodate a picture of complete equality.
And I say this because humans have relied on prejudice for too long in our evolutionary history to avoid.

This leads me to my concluding point, which is not necessary for this discussion, but I would like to include it, that it is far more desirable for a human to be aware of his prejudices, than to deny them entirely. In this way, you would be able to treat your fellow humans equally, even if you are unable to actually think of them as equal.
I would also like to add my distaste for the definition of prejudice too.
This leads directly on from my argument. If there are biological(preservation)/social explanations for prejudice, why is it defined as irrational? I believe I know why, and that is because the definition is subjective towards the target of the prejudice, not the acting party. From the perpective of, say, a man in the case of the abused woman, yes, it is really unfair to him that she assumes he is abusive, but from the perspective of the woman, it is not irrational at all.
In other words, it is only the application of the generalisation onto the particular that is unfair and irrational. The generalisation is, in fact, well founded, and it would do that woman better to follow her prejudices than to ignore them. It could be classified as a portion of human 'learning'; which again, is very innate to human nature.

Going on from this, just to put out some questions for readers to ponder (unrelated to the debate topic)
- Why litigate against prejudice, if the people doing the prejudice can't help it? Isn't it better to educate them on prejudice so that they can understand that transfer of general to specific rather than brand them criminals (unless they actually acted on those prejudices in such a way as to harm another party).
- Why sacrifice free-speech? Along the same reasoning.


I apologize for skipping acceptance. Thank you for acknowledging that. I see that I have provided a weak argument and I thank you for that to. I myself am a man and I can see how your standpoint came to be. I do not think that it is wrong to be prejudiced against someone or something, but I do feel like it also depends on how you act on that prejudice. For example (hypothetical): If I hate a black man because I believe that white men are smarter and a better race, then I am entitled to that opinion, that does not mean that it isn't a bad opinion, it is just what I believe. Now if I walked into a grocery store and shot an African American person then I let that prejudice get the best of me. I assume you haven't murdered any men because of a hatred towards them because I assume you are a civilized person. I think that this is more of a moral thing than a mental or physical thing.

Please don't let my being a male affect your arguments.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


Hey I never said that I hated men. That lady in my post is hypothetical. I just thought it was a good example to use to illustrate my point to people.

So no, you being a man doesn't make an iota of difference to me.

Well that concludes this debate then. It's a shame it didn't go on. I was hoping for an opponent who really does think that people can be free of prejudices. But I suppose if you agree with me then there's nothing more to debate then.


Sorry, there was a lot of info and I skimmed it so that's why there was confusion. I think that this debate can go on. I just believe that a prejudice is more of a self induced kind of thing.
Debate Round No. 3


Oh all right, thanks. Thats okay.

Well perhaps I'll just debate this another time then. We only have one round left so there wont be much we'll be able to get through anyway. If you agree with me though, there won't be much debating going on :P

I suppose then, if anyone else reading this who might want to debate this issue, then give me a shout.


Thanks for the opportunity. Sorry about messing it up.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by GoOrDin 11 months ago
Con is correct.
No votes have been placed for this debate.