Prejudices, meaning prejudgments, are beliefs and attitudes that people have, often towards members of a particular group. Prejudices can be both positive and negative. Prejudices are usually unconscious and may be difficult to uproot. These quotations on prejudice express the wisdom of many writers who’ve tried to understand the causes, effects, and cures.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

— Albert Einstein

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.

— Albert Einstein, Essay to Leo Baeck, 1953

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

— Albert Einstein

This is a call to the living,
To those who refuse to make peace with evil,
With the suffering and the waste of the world. This is a call to the human, not the perfect,
To those who know their own prejudices,
Who have no intention of becoming prisoners of their own limitations. This is a call to those who remember the dreams of their youth,
Who know what it means to share food and shelter,
The care of children and those who are troubled,
To reach beyond barriers of the past
Bringing people to communion. This is a call to the never ending spirit
Of the common man, his essential decency and integrity,
His unending capacity to suffer and endure,
To face death and destruction and to rise again
And build from the ruins of life. This is the greatest call of all
The call to a faith in people.

— Algernon Black

I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

— Barack Obama

The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.

— Carl Sagan

Every aspect of Nature reveals a deep mystery and touches our sense of wonder and awe. Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.

— Carl Sagan

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 rocks.

— Charlotte Bronte

I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.

— Coretta Scott King

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experience. No one can eliminate prejudices — just recognize them.

— Edward R. Murrow

The only causes of regret are laziness, outbursts of temper, hurting others, prejudice, jealousy, and envy.

— Germaine Greer

Criticism is prejudice made plausible.

— H. L. Mencken

It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice

— Henry A. Wallace

It is a great shock at the age of five or six to find that in a world of Gary Coopers you are the Indian.

— James Baldwin

The bounds of human possibility are not as confining as we think they are; they are made to seem to be tight by our weaknesses, our vices, our prejudices that confine them.

— Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

Hospitality means we take people into the space that is our lives and our minds and our hearts and our work and our efforts. Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step towards dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.

— Joan D. Chittister

What religious conversion is not: if it serves us a bit too well, if it reinforces all our prejudices and allows us to call ourselves holy at the expense of others whom we can now judge to be unholy, it is probably not the real thing.

— Kathleen Norris

Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity.

— Kofi Annan

I would like to see an America where people of any race, color or creed may live on a plane of cultural, material well-being, cooperating unhindered by sectarian, racial, or factional prejudices that do nobody any good.

— Langston Hughes, Good Morning, Revolution: Uncollected Social Protest Writings

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, a discussion is apt to become worse than useless.

— Leo Tolstoy

Nobody outside of a baby carriage or a judge's chamber believes in an unprejudiced point of view.

— Lillian Hellman

I think people always believe what they want to believe, don’t you?

— Lillian Hellman

The paradoxes of today are the prejudices of tomorrow, since the most benighted and the most deplorable prejudices have had their moment of novelty when fashion lent them its fragile grace.

— Marcel Proust

Sometimes, it’s like a hair across your cheek. You can’t see it, you can’t find it with your fingers, but you keep brushing at it because the feel of it is irritating.

— Marian Anderson

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

— Mark Twain

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

— Maya Angelou

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

— Maya Angelou

Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom.

— Merry Browne

One of the great secrets of the day is to know how to take possession of popular prejudices and passions, in such a way as to introduce a confusion of principles which makes impossible all understanding between those who speak the same language and have the same interests.

— Niccolo Machiavelli

Simple peck-order bullying is only the beginning of the kind of hierarchical behavior that can lead to racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, and all the other ‘isms’ that cause so much suffering in the world.

— Octavia E. Butler

The majority of people carry in their minds and in their hearts, grudges, jealousy, envy, antipathies, prejudices, which, although not very pronounced in their expression, are festering within and poisoning the inner life.

— Orison Swett Marden

The fact that certain members of the oppressor class join the oppressed in their struggle for liberation, thus moving from one pole of the contradiction to the other… Theirs is a fundamental role, and has been throughout the history of this struggle. It happens, however, that as they cease to be exploiters or indifferent spectators or simply the heirs of exploitation and move to the side of the exploited, they almost always bring with them the marks of their origin: their prejudices and their deformations, which include a lack of confidence in the people’s ability to think, to want, and to know. Accordingly, these adherents to the people’s cause constantly run the risk of falling into a type of generosity as malefic as that of the oppressors. The generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity. Our converts, on the other hand, truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change. A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.

— Paulo Freire

You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.

— Robert Heinlein

The most effective adaptation of racism over time is the idea that racism is conscious bias held by mean people.

— Robin DiAngelo

I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories…. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.

— Thurgood Marshall

The Holocaust illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on a society. It forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction.

— Tim Holden

Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

— Voltaire

The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class.

— Walter Lippmann

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

— William James
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