I don’t trust anyone who says they’re unbiased. The longer I’ve been around, the more it’s become clear that anyone crowing about how unbiased they are has bias oozing from every orifice. I’ve learned to invest more trust in the people and orgs that admit bias happens, yes even to them, and they’re constantly working to overcome it. I’ve had to face up to the fact I’ve got biases, too, just like we all do. I know I’m missing some of my biases, but I work to identify them, and work to compensate for the ones I know I’ve got.
Bias, it turns out, isn’t just an impression some of us social justice types got: it’s a cold, hard, scientific fact. Olivia James took a look at some of the studies, and has a pair of excellent posts up on what science shows about bias. They make for some pretty revealing reading.
Start with Yes Virginia, There is Evidence of Bias, where she talks about Skepticland, studies she’s found, and asks an important question about the atheoskeptisphere:
When I see people saying that black deaths at the hands of cops are not racially motivated, all I can think of is this study showing that we’re more likely to see a harmless object as a gun when it’s held by a black person.
When someone suggests that people who are overweight aren’t discriminated against it’s for their own good/they’re just lazy/what bias, I just want to send over this study that literally shows the same individuals are treated differently at different weights.
So why are otherwise skeptical individuals suddenly incapable of Googling when questions of bias appear?
Finish up with 9 Studies That Show We’re All a Little Biased for an eye-opening experience with bias. It’s pretty sobering stuff. But with awareness comes the power to change things for the better – not to mention lots of peer-reviewed evidence to chuck at the next person who claims they are Totes Bias Free.