I am a judge. And I am prejudiced. I am prejudiced against races, ethnicities, people who are devoutly religious, people with unusual lifestyles, and people who have different values than mine.
But in my work as a judge, I believe my first task is to be conscious and aware of my prejudices, and freely admit them to myself. Only then am I in a position to deal with them, compensate for them, and eliminate them from my decisions.
I do not believe that all people are created equal, but I strongly believe that all people are entitled to be treated equally. I believe everyone is entitled to due process under the law, and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
By definition, prejudice is a “judgment or opinion formed before the facts are known, a preconceived idea.” Who among us has no judgments or opinions about life, people, and philosophies?
I believe that anyone who says he/she is not prejudiced is either lying, stupid, or totally lacking in self-knowledge. To be unprejudiced would be to be without likes and dislikes, in races, philosophies, beliefs. It would mean he/she is without principles or preferences.
To be fair, and just, one must be aware of his/her beliefs. That is why I believe everyone should be required to sit down and write “This I Believe”.
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