Essay by sybilHigh School, 12th gradeA+, December 2003

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PREJUDICE: In My Own Words

Walking down the street, a large variety of people can be seen. There will be businessmen, athletes, the occasional bum, maybe a punk rocker or two, rappers, some country boys, and who the heck else knows what walking the other way. Everywhere a person goes, the store, school, the movies, anywhere, this diversity can be seen. It is exactly this diversity which forms the basis of my definition for the word prejudice.

To me prejudice has less to do with colors, skin, and religion. It is more about a person and their preconception of what other people's values are and how they should act. When a person walks down the street and looks out upon the men and women walking towards them they see not people but stereotypes. There are the jocks, nerds, guidos, businessmen, the list goes on. These labels are the things that keep people from excepting other individuals as just that - individuals.

When someone cannot overcome the preconceived ideas of what other people are like they have become prejudiced towards them. This includes thinking someone is just a bum or only a football player. Reducing a person to only one dimension is what constitutes an act of prejudice in my mind.

Unfortunately, everyone does this, some more than others do. Every time I go into the store, onto the street, or around campus I see people of all types. Even as I write this and think back on today, I saw many people whom I didn't know. I placed them into certain categories. Some where good, some were bad and they may will probably never know what I was thinking. But the real tragedy is that there have been innumerable people that I have not met, and never will,