An Antidote to the Poison of

Professor Joseph D.McNair
           What is Prejudice?
• Prejudice is an attitude of hatred and hostility
  directed against members of groups other than the
  ones we to which we belong..
• Prejudice is a fear-based attitude.
• Prejudice is rooted in the belief that members of
  other groups threaten one’s well-being and tax
  one’s adaptive capacities.
The Prejudging Person Believes:
• That one’s own group is superior or inferior to
  another group or groups.
• That other groups are strange, alien, foreign and
  should be hated, “dealt with” because they are
• That one’s own group is entitled to societal
  privileges, social status and symbols associated
  with those privileges because of their superiority
The Prejudging Person Believes:
• That one’s own group is undeserving of certain
  societal privileges and social status and symbols
  associated with those privileges because of their
• That other groups seek to take away power,
  privilege or status from one’s group; or
• That other groups will use or abuse their superior,
  power, privilege or status against one’s own
Prejudice is a defense
         Defense Mechanisms
• Defense mechanisms are used by most of us to
  preserve or maintain of self-systems.
• Defense mechanisms distort reality and involve a
  fair degree of self-deception.
• Defense mechanisms change so called “facts” to
  fit our personal needs.
           Defense Mechanisms
• Compensation: an attempt to disguise or overcome
  the existence of what is perceived to be a
  weakness by emphasizing a strength.
• Denial: avoiding disagreeable realities by ignoring
  or refusing to acknowledge them.
• Displacement: the shift of emotion or fantasy
  away from the person or object toward which it
  was originally directed to a safer person or object.
           Defense Mechanisms
• Emotional Insulation: an attempt to reduce our
  needs and fears by withdrawing into a shell of
• Fantasy: to embellish our perceptions so that the
  world seems much better than it really is.
• Introjection: internalizing the basic qualities or
  attitudes of a person or persons who threaten us.
• Projection: blaming our shortcomings, sins and
  unacceptable thoughts on others.
            Defense Mechanisms
• Rationalization: a) helps us to invent excuses for
  doing what we don’t think we should do but want
  to do anyway; and b) helps us to soften the
  disappointment for not reaching the goal we set
  for ourselves.
• Reaction Formation: Feeling one way but
  behaving in another.
• Regression: a retreat in the face of stress or fear to
  the use of behaviors more appropriate at earlier
  levels of development.
           Defense Mechanisms
• Repression: the process of burying or excluding
  painful or dangerous thoughts or desires from the
• Sublimation: acceptance of a socially approved
  substitute goal for a drive whose normal channel
  has been blocked.
 Prejudice is a set of
“group” ego defenses
• “Superior” people overvalue their personal worth;
  exaggerate their achievements; focus on the
  “special nature” of their own problems
• “Superior” people direct their affections towards
  themselves rather than others; are preoccupied
  with fantasies of unlimited power, success,
  brilliance or beauty or ideal love.
• “Superior” people require constant attention and
• “Superior” people can either be coolly indifferent
  or display feelings of rage, inferiority, shame,
  humiliation or emptiness in response to defeat or
  failure, indifference or criticism from others.
• “Superior” people may be compensating from
  deep feelings of shame stemming from their
  personal perception of not “measuring up” in
  some way significant to them.
• “Inferior” people have an exaggerated sense of
  personal inadequacy. This sense of inadequacy is
  developmental and learned rather than genetic and
  innate. Objective facts make seem to make little
  difference in whether one feels inferior or not.
• “Inferior” people are sensitive to criticism
  (avoidance, compensation).
• “Inferior” people are over-responsive to flattery.
• “Inferior” people have hypercritical attitudes
  (reaction formation).
• “Inferior” people tend to blame (project)others.
• “Inferior” people feel persecuted.
• “Inferior” people hate to compete.
• “Inferior” people are easily persuaded and
• “Inferior” people need to be perfect.
• “Inferior” people tend to seclusive, timid and shy.
          Prejudice Causes Pain
Victims of persistent prejudice have been:

•   Disappointed        • Deceived
•   Rejected            • Abused
•   Abandoned
•   Ridiculed
•   Humiliated
•   Betrayed
        Prejudice Causes Pain
• Prejudice opens emotional wounds that are
  slow to heal.
• Prejudice infects those wounds like a slow
  acting poison.
• Prejudice, like hatred, envy, jealousy, anger,
  rage, fear, panic , grief, depression festers in
  those wounds.
  Forgiveness is an
antidote for the poison
     of prejudice
    Four Illusions
Influencing Why We
   Don’t Want To
     Why We Don’t Want To
• Illusion: If this hadn’t happened, my
  life would have been perfect!
• Not forgiving provides a readily available
  explanation or excuse for anything or
  everything that is wrong with me and my
     Why We Don’t Want To
• Illusion: But I am a good person!
• Not forgiving helps me define who I am e.g.
  I am the victim of some injury and injustice,
  not the bad guy. I don’t have to look at my
  part in whatever pain or injury that has
  happened to me.
     Why We Don’t Want To
• Illusion: I have power!
• Not forgiving helps me compensate for the
  powerlessness I felt when I was hurt or
  hurting. Keeping people locked away in the
  prison of my mind makes me powerful. No
  one can stop me from holding a grudge.
     Why We Don’t Want To
• Illusion: I won’t be hurt again!
• Not forgiving protects me from being hurt
  again by the people who originally hurt me
  and by the new people in my life. By
  keeping the pain alive, by continuing to
  hurt, I am alert for any potential danger
  and reduce the risk of being deceived,
  disappointed betrayed abused or otherwise
     What Forgiveness is Not
• Forgiveness is not condoning
• Forgiveness is not absolution
• Forgiveness is not a form of self-
• Forgiveness is not a clear cut, one time
        What Forgiveness is
• Forgiveness is a by-product of an
  ongoing healing process. You cannot
 forgive anyone if the wounds they inflicted
 are not healed. Forgiveness is the gift at the
 end of the healing process. We find it
 waiting for us when we reach a point where
 we stop expecting those who hurt us to pay
 for what they did or to make it up to us in
 some way.
        What Forgiveness is
• Forgiveness is an internal process. It
 happens within us. It is a feeling of
 wellness and freedom and acceptance.
• Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-
  esteem. It is no longer building our
 identity around something that happened to
 us in the past. When we can say “I am tired
 of the pain, forgiveness becomes possible!
        What Forgiveness is
• Forgiveness is letting go of the intense
  emotions attached to incidents from the
  past. We still remember what happened,
 but we no longer feel intensely angry,
 frightened, bitter, resentful or damaged
 because of it. Forgiveness becomes an
 option once pain from the past stops
 dictating how we live our lives today.
         What Forgiveness is
• Forgiveness is no longer needing our
  grudges, resentments, hatred and self-
  pity. We do not need them as an excuse for
  getting less out of life than we want or
  deserve. We do not need them as a weapon
  to punish the people who hurt us or to keep
  others from getting close, We do not need
  them as an identity We are more than a
        What Forgiveness is
• Forgiveness is no longer wanting to
  punish the people who hurt us. It is no
 longer wanting to get even or to have them
 suffer as much as we did. It is realizing that
 we can never truly even the score and it is
 the inner peace we feel when we stop
        What Forgiveness is
• Forgiveness is accepting that nothing
  we do to punish those who hurt us will
  heal us. It is becoming aware of what we
 did because we were hurt and how these
 attitudes and behaviors have also hurt us. It
 is deciding that we have done enough
 hiding and hurting and hating and that we
 don’t want to do those things anymore.
        What Forgiveness is
• Forgiveness is freeing up and putting
  to better us those energies once
  consumed by holding grudges,
  harboring resentments and nursing
  unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the
 strength we always had and relocating our
 limitless capacity to understand and accept
 other people and ourselves.
        What Forgiveness is
• Forgiveness is moving on. It is
 recognizing that we have better things to do
 in life and doing them.
         The Healing Process
• Denial. This is the stage in which we attempt to
  play down the importance of painful past
  experience and bury our thoughts and feelings
  about them.
• Self-Blame: This is the stage in which we try to
  explain what happened to us by assuming we were
  somehow responsible for the injuries and
  injustices we suffered.
          The Healing Process
• Victim. This is the stage in which we recognize
  that we did not deserve or ask for the hurt we
  received. We wallow in self-pity, expect little of
  ourselves, indulge ourselves at the expense of
  those around us, or lash out at anyone and
  everyone who crosses us.
          The Healing Process
• Indignation. This is the stage in which we are
  angry at the people who hurt us and the world.
  We want the people who hurt us to pay and suffer
  as we have. We have no tolerance and our self-
  righteousness is high.
• Survivor: Finally, at this stage, we realize that
  while we were indeed hurt, we did survive. We
  lost things but gain things as well.
          The Healing Process
• Integration. This is the stage in which we
  acknowledge that the people who hurt us may be
  ill,may have done the best they could. If we are
  more than our wounds, they must be more than the
  pain they inflicted. We can release them from the
  prisons in our minds and reclaim the energy we
  used to keep them their. We can put the past into
  perspective- without forgetting it- and get on with
  our lives.
           The Healing Process
• True healing is facilitated by our willingness to
  revisit our injuries again and again; to look at
  them, face them and learn what they have to
  tell us about ourselves.
• True healing happens in time… and sometimes
  we have to give time time!
• When we can think about (revisit in our minds)
  our emotional wound and the circumstances
  that caused it with interest but without intense
  emotion, we have healed.

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