"....why am I telling you? You work for The Government."
Yes I just heard these words coming from a crusty old building contractor. You see, I have no appreciation for the costs involved in building a porch because I work for the Government and am therefore part of the Problem; a force which opposes you. Seems I encounter this attitude with increasing frequency. It is frustrating because I feel I'm actually trying to help people, but once you hear words like that it becomes clear that certain folks' ears have already shut down and it really doesn't matter what you say.
There's nothing quite like being prejudged, and having to deal with someone who has a boatload of assumptions they've already made about you based on one attribute (job, race, gender, religion, age, nationality, disability, weight, education, sexual orientation etc.). You might otherwise be a wonderful individual but God help you if you belong to that group.
I remember 28 years ago in Okinawa I couldn't get a bus to stop for me in town, and I understand the experience was not that uncommon at the time. I don't know if Americans still experience the 'dirty Gaijin' treatment, but I hope things have improved. This was a pretty blatant example of prejudice, and most of the time it's a little more subtly expressed. Usually, it emerges in conversation when someone says something that reveals something about their underlying attitudes.
What are your experiences with prejudice? When has it shown its face to you, and where have you observed it?