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Quotes of the Day for 28 January 2003 – Prejudice

On this day in 1852 the abolitionist orator Wendell Phillips made a speech including, "There is nothing stronger than human prejudice." The strength of prejudice was demonstrated on this day in 1916 when the Jewish legal scholar Louis Demholtz Brandeis was named to the US Supreme Court, generating frantic outcries from many quarters. Prejudice comes from the root concept of deciding things in advance, and actually is quite useful in many ways. Tomorrow I will wash my hair before I brush it, a sequence I find more functional than the reverse, but it's a decision I don't need to make every day. But making too many decisions in advance, and therefore without access to all the facts, can be extremely dangerous - particularly when those prejudices are shared by many and examined by none.

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The quotes:

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
     - Albert Einstein, 1879 - 1955

It is not so difficult a task to plant new truths, as to root out old errors; for there is this paradox in men, they run after that which is new, but are prejudiced in favor of that which is old.
     - Charles Caleb Colton, 1780 - 1832

Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.
     - Charlotte Bronte

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them.
     - Edward R. Murrow, 1908 - 1965

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.
     - Maya Angelou

Without the aid of prejudice and custom, I should not be able to find my way across the room.
     - William Hazlitt, 1778 - 1830


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