personal, professional, emotional, and social lives are disrupted and their
problems are blamed on gays or on the gay or lesbian movement. These
deeply ingrained prejudices are not easy to change.
Now, you might ask yourself this question: Is there a clear difference between
an ordinary prejudice and a pathological bias? Or, in the extreme, do they
fade together and become the same delusional thinking? There are cases of
people who are deeply prejudiced against almost any disliked and distrusted
groupJews, Blacks, Orientals, Mexicans or whatever. For example, one
women described by Monteith (8/18/02 in Psychology Today. (Also see
and would infect her; therefore, she wouldnt see a doctor because so many
doctors are Jewish. This woman who will not see a doctor and the man in
Arizona who killed a man because he looked like a Muslim are extremely
prejudiced. Their conditions and thinking surely have some similarity to hate
crime perpetrators and to paranoid schizophrenic thinking. However, the
Diagnostic Manual doesnt yet have a diagnosis for extreme prejudice. Some
doctors believe a new diagnosis of extreme irrational prejudice is needed.
I believe that when a prejudice becomes clearly irrational, it is likely to reflect
a mental disorder. Such an irrational belief is more than a prejudice or a
mental self-manipulation just to make you feel good about yourself. Yet, we
need to be careful and remember that we all have prejudices. But certain
extreme prejudices (like intense hatred of another country or religion) are
considered by society to have enough rational bases that the believers are not
considered psychotic by many people. Even most of German people did not
consider Hitlers extermination of the Jews to be psychotic thinking. Perhaps
prejudicial thinking is such a part of our mental life that we are overly tolerant
of extreme prejudice thoughts and feelings. Perhaps that tolerance of hate of
people who are seen as different is part of the reason our species goes to war
You dont think you are prejudiced any more?
The days of crude people using the N word or referring to a black man as a
spade are over. But racial prejudice is far from over. Helen Tinsley-Jones
(2003), a black psychologist, has written a powerful article underscoring the
extent to which racial prejudice undermines the security and mental health of
Blacks. Almost all (about 98%) of Black Americans have experienced some
racial act or unconscious discrimination during the last year, but most modern
racism is covert and subtle. For example, Whites are much more likely to
physiologically react when touched by a Black than by a White experimenter.
Another indication of prejudice is shown by a poll of 1,000 Californians asking
Have you been victimized more after September 11 than you were before?
Between 57% and 80% of Iranian, Arabic, and Pakistani people say yes.
In an emergency situation where someone was facing a life-threatening
situation, White bystanders (when alone) offer to help White and Black people
in deep trouble about 90% of the time. If the bystander believes there are
other bystanders, the percent of Whites that assist a Black victim drops to
38% but assistance to a White victim is about 75%. Whites recommend a