“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

We recently finished reading the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. For my assignment this week, I had to do this: Atticus hopes that his children won’t catch “Maycomb’s usual disease.” Using To Kill a Mockingbird as a point of departure, write a reflective essay on the disease of prejudice, how it spreads and how it can be stopped. To Kill a Mockingbird was based upon the main idea of prejudice in the 1950s. This is my reflection on the disease of prejudice.

Prejudice is a disease that people are not born with, but are taught. Prejudice was and is still a huge problem here and everywhere. The definition of prejudice according to the Websters Dictionary is n. an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc. Hating someone just because of their race, sex, or religion is very bad and unfair. Even though it is very bad, it still has been around for a very long time. But can it be stopped? First, we will have to study how it spreads.

One main way prejudice is spread is when parents teach their kids to hate other people. For instance, in the early 60s, the blacks in the south were not allowed to use the same water fountains, bathrooms, and even sit down on the bus. This was because the whites of that time were taught from their parents to hate blacks just because of the color of their skin. You may think that adults are sensible and know what they are doing, but sometimes they do not. Since prejudice for some people have been passed on from generation to generation, the adults think they are doing the right thing because their parents have taught them that.

Another way prejudice is spread is by ignorance of not knowing people’s beliefs, cultures, and customs. An example would be that a person would make fun of a Muslim wearing a headdress. In current times, it is not only making fun of someone, but killing them. Many terrorist groups have done this to people who are not of their religion. Also, it may be one radical person who killed another person for not converting over to their religion.

I think there are many ways to prevent prejudice from spreading. One example I feel would help is to expose people to cultures and religions that they have heard many stereotypes of. Understanding people’s differences will not only enrich your own world, but it will eradicate the fear some people have when they do not understand something. Fear is one of the biggest causes of racism and any kind of hatred. So by educating people, those ignorant people will have less reason to lash out at other religions and ethnicities they do not understand.

Prejudice is a drastic world problem and cannot be solved by a few individuals. It is wrong and unacceptable and this should be considered by every human being. If everyone will work together, we can help stop the spread of prejudice. This will make the world a better place for generations to come.