When I was younger I learned the very hard lesson that ‘Life isn’t fair’ and it changed me from that moment on. So, when I have to analyze bias and societies bias – I find it quite irritating and frustrating. Every single person, no matter who they are, has a bias (and probably has many of them) but, those biases are apart of who we are. I am a white, middle-class, college-educated, female and I don’t care who or what you are. Bias is a barnacle on the a** of progress. I instead look at the facts. That is all I care about.
I run a company and am starting my second while being an undergraduate student and every day I have to deal with bias. Every day my clients question me, my company and my work because I am a 20-something, female with blonde hair. Every moment of my life I have to push through personal bias. Bias is an innate part of who we are and I personally don’t see why it helps us to understand when we are biased because it doesn’t change anything.
However, for my management class, we read Overcoming Bias and had to complete the activities.
Activity 1: Job Association
Used Car Salesman: Father
What comes to mind for me are facts about each of these jobs. Used Car Salesmen are Fathers because of the wording the activity used. If it would have said ‘Used Car Saleswoman’ I would have said, Mother. I don’t let my emotions and bias dictate what I think.
Activity 2: Implicit Association Test
I think this test is completely bias itself. When the test showed pictures of Donald Trump it then used negative words behind the picture and used positive words after Recent Presidents. My political position on recent presidents and Donald Trump cannot be determined from clicking keys on a keyboard. My political affiliation and/or opinions are based on the facts of the president’s presidency.
Activity 3: Personalization
For this activity, I felt a little out of place, however, I focused on my hot button issues and I get irritated and upset. Though, I don’t believe my irritation from this activity is a result of not consciously dealing with my issues.
Activity 4: Devils Advocate
When I was in high school and on the debate team we had to debate issues we didn’t agree with quite often. However, for this exercise, I debated with my sister. She debated on behalf of lower taxes and I debated on behalf of higher taxes. The debate was frustrating however, it didn’t last very long because my sister had a hard time debating an argument she didn’t agree with.
Activity 5: Get Out of the Zone
I actually used a pass time that I was the minority in the room. Last May, I spoke at an event in front of Small Business Owners and I was the youngest and the only female in the room. I was asked many times “How am I able to run a business and go to school at the same time?” “How are you qualified to run a business and go to school?” “How does a girl like you run a business?” I was humiliated. But, it taught me a very important lesson and that is to always put my disadvantages out first, so then nobody can use them against me.
Activity 6: The Power of Privilege TedX Talk
I watched this talk a few months ago and I really enjoyed it. I think she explains privilege in a way that resonates with people.
Activity 7: Diversity Inventory
After doing this activity I realized how many people I have around me who are much older than me. However, I have people very close to me who come from all types of backgrounds; African, Black, White, Indian, Male, Trans, Female, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, British and many others. However, I did realize that the people around me are very similar to me in ambition and drive.
Activity 8: Cultural Inventory
From this activity I learned that I read a lot of articles and books from middle aged white men but watch movies and TV shows with old and young men and women from all background.
Activity 9: Question Your Assumptions
I could not get the link to work. I will try another time.
Activity 10: Listening Lunch
I went to lunch with my grandmother for this activity and found that if I listened to her carefully I was able to see that she has many biases towards many people. The biases she has however, impact her whole life. It is quite awful how impactful her biases are and how they impact her.
Overcoming Bias was an interesting book to read and the assessments showed me a different light about bias around us. It is about how I process it, so, from now on I am going to be more conscious of others and what they are saying.