The history of prejudice is almost as old as the history of humanity itself. There are some reasonable explanations as to why humans have always been prejudiced such as trying to make sense of the world or finding justifications to pursue self-interests even if that may involve exploiting others. However, it is also clear that prejudice does not only prevent the society from achieving moral and social progress but also imposes economic costs on the society.
One of the adverse effects of prejudice is that it influences certain groups to lose confidence in the system. For example, displays of prejudice by the law enforcement officials may cause certain groups to distrust the justice system. It may even influence certain members of the groups to keep information from law enforcement agencies that would have improved safety and security of communities.
Prejudice also causes doubt on the real accomplishments of individuals from disadvantaged groups. Their accomplishments are usually attributed to favoritism or mere chances rather than personal traits and real achievements.
Prejudice also imposes huge economic costs on the society by erecting glass ceilings in the way of prejudiced groups. The individuals from certain groups are often judged more on the basis of their group memberships rather than personal traits and accomplishments. Prejudice ensures that many individuals from disadvantaged groups fail to realize their true potential because of lack of access to proper educational and/or professional advancement opportunities.
Prejudice also hurts the political and democratic institutions of the country because it helps the majority and the powerful groups maintain their grip on power and influence. This goes against the ideals of fairness and meritocracy according to which every citizen, irrespective of his economic, social, cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious background, should have equal chance of being elected to a certain public office. While any citizen can compete for a public office, one cannot ignore the fact that prejudice erects artificial barriers in the path of individuals from prejudiced groups.