The Hidden Costs of Prejudice

Apr 22 , 2023
By Eden Sahle

I have observed people, including those close to me, discriminate against others or suffer social injustice because of their background.

The stress and pain may stretch to the point of breaking up marriages and families, leaving children with an identity crisis and societies with division and enmities. Hate speech has become rampant on social media platforms and in real life.

The elderly couple I have acquaintance with are no different.

To the casual observer, they might appear as an embodiment of success and propriety. With accomplished children and a long-lasting marriage, they could be held up as role models for others. However, behind the facade lies a deep-rooted hostility, as they have actively sought to dissolve their children's marriages and reject their grandchildren due to differing backgrounds. This uncompromising attitude has forced their children to sever ties with them, revealing the destructive nature of prejudice even within seemingly picture-perfect families.

It is sickening to see older people who were presumed to have wisdom speak drivel and spread hate. Sadly, they are not alone.

A former colleague left  Ethiopia for the United States (US) after experiencing similar hostility. Seven months pregnant, her husband abruptly annulled their marriage due to his family's disapproval of her background. Devastated, she felt compelled to seek solace elsewhere, joining countless others who had been forced from their homes by forces beyond their control.

Our basic human needs, thoughts, and emotions are deeply interconnected with each other, regardless of our background.

Phycologists attribute hate to some perceived threat. It is an attitude that triggers hostility and aggression toward others, a reaction to and destruction from some form of inner pain. They explain that people who hate others believe the only way to overcome their pain is to strike out at others preemptively.

These crises lie in our history, culture, politics and family. Each moment of hate is a temporary reprieve from their own inner suffering.

We live in a society that is accustomed to violence in which hate becomes the way of life, in fear of connection because division has become paramount. We are taught to consider others as enemies for being different. Fighting is embraced rather than amiability, while empathy and unity are infrequent.

The heightened hate and fueling crisis in society have serious effects on our personal lives and economic damage.

Development and prosperity would be a myth if the road down the line remains the same because hate has a powerful destructive ability to damage core values permanently. It numbs the guilt and shame that people ought to feel for prejudice.

History teaches us how hate can be exploited, leading an entire nation to commit despicable crimes against others. It would be wise not to repeat it.

Change can come if society challenges the underlying toxic beliefs and assumptions of looking down on others. This would allow communities to reclaim humanity, lifting the heavy weight off of each other. It frees many who are paying unnecessary painful prices because of their background.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1199]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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