Scenario: You walk into a restaurant. At the first table you see someone that is somewhat obese. You guess their weight at around 300 pounds, and they're munching down on this:
Be honest: A) Did you think that maybe that person should have chosen something different because they're fat already OR B) did you think that maybe what they had was what you might consider getting, no thoughts whatsoever about their size?
If you thought A, guess what, you aren't alone and you aren't a bad person for it.
Having some misconceptions is a sad but true part of being a human being. We're social creatures and learn that way as well. If you never knew or interacted with a black person growing up in your town, and the only exposure you've had to any black person at all is from watching the NFL, NBA, rap songs, rap videos, or some "reality TV show" including blacks in the cast, what kind of view can you be expected to have?
Personal example: As a kid, my mom watched the show Dallas all the time. And sometimes, I watched it with her. There was lots of money, ranches, cowboy hats, and cowboy boots. I hadn't visited Dallas and had my naieve preconceived ideas that every person in Dallas had the same thing.
A conversation with my mom helped me adjust my perspective, and also understand why JR looked just like the guy from I Dream of Jeannie lol!
That is a minor example but it shows that misconceptions and/or preconceptions can form various ways and at an early age. Having them isn't so much the issue...
It's what you choose to do/don't do about the misconception and your interactions with others that makes the difference.
When you walk in that restaurant and see that overweight person eating a hefty meal, it may not be a good idea to walk over and tell them they should eat better. Why? Because the person could have just lost 50 pounds and this is their celebration meal, or perhaps it is their cheat day for their new eating lifestyle.
The woman that sits down at a table near you wearing a light-thread material over her head isn't automatically a terrorist Muslim. She could be wearing something over her head to help shield against the sun.
We may learn prejudices, but do they have to remain? What are some ways to possibly unlearn a preconception?
~Start the conversation.~