You are not impartial

By Nilofer Merchant via http://blogs.hbr.org   Article

Is Bias Fixable?

“Black / white. Masculine/feminine. Rich/poor. Immigrant/ native. Gay/straight. Southern/northern. Young/old. Each of us can be described in a series of overlapping identities and roles. And we could spend time talking about the biological and sociological programming that causes humans to form personal identity around group structures. But the bottom line is this: we — as a society — don’t see each other. You are not seen for who you really are, though each of us is a distinct constellation of interests, passions, histories, visions and hopes. And you do not see others. …

Recognizing bias is simply recognizing that you are not impartial — you prescreen by seeing what you expect to see.

Everyone is biased, as research consistently proves. Yet more often than not, I hear people saying “I’m color blind” or “This place is a meritocracy,” when all modern reality would suggest it can’t be. Nate Silver recently shared research affirming that “those who say they don’t have a gender bias actually show a greater gender bias.” So maybe it’s more this: saying that you aren’t biased probably makes you more blind than color-blind. Because only when you acknowledge that you are blind to an issue, can you begin the process of seeing more clearly.

The real question then becomes: can bias be fixed? ….”

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