Bias: (n) prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group
“Choose up sides.”
It happens early in our training, especially in elementary school.
Two captains are picked, which already establishes a bias toward a pair of students who are certainly preferred.
It is up to these two students to hand select their favorite individuals in a sequence which communicates to the entire room the new social order for the second-grade cult.
It may seem harmless–and especially seems to be free of guile for those who are selected early or who happen to be the captains.
But if you’ve ever been the last one selected, you are fully aware that bias leaves a lasting mark which is difficult to erase with the pencils provided during your years of education.
In many ways, the bias toward race begins on the playground.
We start off with only one race–that being “let’s go fast.” But as we describe to our teachers and families our newfound friends, we are suddenly discouraged from playing with them because somehow or another they are “different.”
Reinforcing this training is the notion that “girls are different from boys.”
“Smart people are different from less smart people.”
And the word different has two definitions:
- If the difference is mine, it is better.
- If the difference is yours, it is inferior.
It is impossible to celebrate cultures without promoting bias.
Yet we continue to do so, having children don sombreros on Cinco de Mayo, thinking that we are being multi-cultural–and also limiting the scope of a whole group of people to “a funny hat.”
Insanity is when we believe we solve a problem by creating a bigger one.
And bias is always the contention that the best way to understand people … is to punctuate their differences.