Humans are designed to do two things: survive and reproduce. The two are linked as reproducing is how the species ultimately survives. I’ve touched on this in another post but most everything about humans is designed to contribute to either surviving or reproducing. Prejudice is one of them.
Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Humans are wired to have prejudices or preconceived notions about certain people or certain things as a mode of survival. We’re wired to be attracted to things that are similar to us. A study done by Arizona State University found that “because human survival was based on group living, ‘outsiders’ were viewed as — and often were — very real threats.”
This is why people often prefer to date people who look like them or be friends with people who look like them. Asians are likely to date other Asians, whites date other whites, blacks date other blacks etc. We automatically love and trust our family more than others and for the same reasons we automatically trust and love folks who look like us. Our brains are wired to sort those people into the “family” category or at least closer to it than someone who looks/talks/dresses very different than us.
A study from Ghent University in Belgium, also found that prejudice doesn’t come from a set ideology. The study found that prejudice is a result of people’s desire to make quick and safe judgments. Surprises aren’t useful to survival. The study notes that humans have a need to feel safe and they do this by making quick decisions to best stabilize their lives. Again, this all relates back to our instincts to best protect ourselves. From the beginning of time, prejudice has helped humans avoid real danger.
Humans are also designed to learn prejudices from experience and our prejudices have evolved. For example, if a tall brunette man tries to kill you, there’s a great chance that you will walk away with an aversion to tall brunette men. If you’re deeply wronged by someone or witness someone being deeply wronged it’s natural to sort the group that the perpetrator belongs to into the “to be avoided” portion of your brain. We often do this subconsciously and when you do this, it actually means you’re normal.
I’m not making the case there is no prejudice backed by the traditional kind of racism one might think of, but rather that interpersonal preference is somewhat wired into us. While we don’t live in a caveman time period and there isn’t a need to constantly look around for the neighboring cave-family to attack or saber toothed tiger to pounce, natural prejudice creeps into all of our lives whether we admit it or not.
I point all this out because it gets pretty annoying when folks claim that a preference or attraction to certain features, skin colors, heights, genders etc are actually signs you’re a racist when in fact that’s counter to science. My dream guy would have skin color, eyes and hair similar to mine…does that make me a racist or a simply a normal human? I get away with it because my preferred look is one of the minority but I see no difference between me saying I’m most attracted to brown men and a white man saying he prefers white partners. But if a white man (gay or straight) were to publicly admit they’re white preference they’d get ripped apart by SJWs. Sometimes a preference is rooted in racism and sometimes it’s simply an aesthetic attraction we can’t control.
The bottom line is that it’s not really my business who you’re attracted to and why you’re attracted to them. I don’t care why you choose your friends. There’s also no shame in not being attracted to a certain trait, whether that’s height, skin tone or eye color, in fact, it’s natural. Ultimately it’s what’s on the inside that matters but we all know you can’t date someone unless you’re at least a little bit attracted to them, and no one should be bullied for their choices.