The Study of Man: How Discriminatory Are College Admissions?
AMONG the problems of our age, that of prejudice is not the least complex. In its action and reactions, a web is woven in which we are all caught. Like it or not, where a set of attitudes toward any group exists, the very awareness of this, regardless of how we ourselves react, makes it impossible to be unprejudiced in the literal sense of the word-that is, to think without pre-judging. The awkwardness of the Gentile telling an acquaintance whom he has just discovered to be a Jew that some of his best friends are Jews- and really meaning it-or the white who is painfully aware of the Negro’s suspicion explaining that he really has no special “feeling” about Negroes-and believing he means it- merely indicates we are all subject, one way or another, to prejudice.
The psychological complications of prejudice are virtually infinite: ranging from the self-deception and rationalizations of the “superior” group to the super-sensitivity (one recalls the joke about the stutterer telling a friend that he was turned down for a job as a radio announcer because of anti-Semitism) and self-hatred of the “inferior” group. These complications make accurate measurements of prejudice extremely difficult. Yet we keep trying to measure it because we must.
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