Life contains many issues that have a moral dimension that may or may not be connected to law.
The word moral is dangerous when left undefined. It is ambiguous given that the moral content of an issue is always discerned through a specific lens or measured with a specific meter. There are different moral standards that we could use to answer the question posed by the article’s title. We’ll keep things simple by leveraging the principle of “do no harm to others” to uncover the moral dimension of prejudice.
The question could be framed as, “Does prejudice lead to physical or emotional harm?” Perhaps a better question might be, “Would a rational, prudent, impartial person acknowledge that prejudice violates contemporary ideals, norms, or values of respect for persons?”
I think it’s good to acknowledge that the question won’t capture all of the nuances of a particular situation. It does, however, provide good guidance.
Prejudice could also be considered an ambiguous word. Let’s define it as a condition that affects our behavior toward other people. It can be discerned in us when all of the following symptoms are present:
- Prejudging a person or group using hand-me-down stories;
- Holding derogatory beliefs;
- Hostility and fear are the dominant feelings associated with a person or group;
- Inclination to hinder, hurt, or support others in doing the same.
Would someone manifesting the above symptoms violate contemporary ideas, norms, or values of respect for persons?
Let me morph an old proverb as an answer: The proof of the pudding can be found on the receiving. You will need to understand the lived experiences of those you hold prejudices against or at minimum listen to their voices.