Positive Prejudice as Interpersonal Ethics examines prejudice not merely as a negative attitude toward others but as a general orientation that enables perception and understanding. Prejudicial attitudes appear in all daily human interactions; these interactions have a moral character and thus have an effect on the self-concepts and self-esteem of the participants. By examining this concept at the intersection of three fields—social psychological studies of the nature of prejudice, phenomenological examination of a person’s interpersonal experiences, and ethical consideration of the character of constructive interactions—this book places the idea of prejudice in its larger context. Presenting prejudice as situational understanding that impacts all perception and interpretation, Sara Kärkkäinen Terian offers a way to shape it from negative to positive. She considers recognition of one’s value as a person an integral part of positive prejudice and respect as its necessary basis.
Born of personal epiphany, nurtured through scholarly rigor, and offered in a time of societal upheaval, Positive Prejudice as Interpersonal Ethics is truly a gift. In this exquisitely written book, Sara Kärkkäinen Terian skillfully guides the reader through a thoughtful and thought-provoking framework for understanding how prejudgment, turned positive, can enrich, empower, and elevate relationships and community. Relatable examples—some personal, some hypothetical, some research-based, some widely known—elucidate the carefully crafted theoretical approach. This book is recommended to educators and leaders in the professions, law enforcement, faith communities, educational institutions, and government as they guide uncomfortable conversations around prejudice and bigotry.
This is an existentially and theoretically well-grounded treatment of an issue relevant to contemporary conditions. It invites readers to engage their lives and situations in the hope of finding and transcending individual constraints and living more inclusive lives with a shared sense of a common human destiny! The book merits a wide audience.
So often, in our discourse as well as in deliberations, we all speak of prejudice in the negative. Sara Kärkkäinen Terian, in her book Positive Prejudice as Interpersonal Ethics, calls our attention to another point of view. Using “social psychological studies of interpersonal behavior with focus on prejudice; ethics in terms of respect for persons, i.e. how one could improve the social experience of others; and phenomenology of social relations, i.e. how one experiences oneself in interpersonal situations,” she demonstrates that we encounter prejudice in our daily interactions in terms of our relationships and the respect we grant or deny others. Viewed thus, prejudice becomes more than a social problem and becomes a way of understanding ourselves in relationship to others. As such, prejudice becomes not an attitude to avoid but in its positive form an approach to adopt for better intrapersonal and interpersonal relations.
This volume offers a thought-provoking, challenging, and insightful look at the issue of prejudice. Given recent developments in our nation and world, it is timely. We need to listen to its message, confront our suppositions, and “gear our attitudes toward others in a positive direction.”