Bias

Do you think bias should be the basis for acceptance into any assembly?  Do you think discrimination should be the source for competition?  Do you think that prejudice is a good way to view people groups?   Do you think bigotry is an acceptable attitude toward an ethnicity other than your own?  Do you think favoritism…well…I think you get the idea.  If we have been taught nothing else in our Western culture over the past few decades it is that we should be tolerant of people.  Our views should be broadminded.  We should be charitable with those who are different than us.  Tolerance may be preached, however it’s not always practiced.

It seems that the very group telling us not to be polarizing live in their own north pole.  As The New York Times reported recently,[1] bias is a key concern at a national psychology conference.  It is routine at this gathering that psychologists attack the latest stereotypes: racial prejudice, homophobia, sexism, and unconscious bias against minorities.  Well, it seems that a newly underrepresented group has been spotted.  Dr. Jonathan Haidt (height) is a social psychologist at the University of Virginia.  You see, at this year’s conference Dr. Haidt conducted a unique poll.  First, Haidt asked how many in the psychology conference considered themselves politically liberal.  Out of 1,000 psychologists in the room, over 800 raised their hands.  When centrists or libertarians were called upon, about 3 dozen hands were spotted.  Last, he asked for conservatives to identify themselves.  There were a grand total of three conservatives present.

Dr. Haidt called his impromptu poll an indication that conservatives are underrepresented in social psychology.  Dr. Haidt, himself as a longtime liberal, turned centrist, stated clearly that if gender or race were underrepresented, the label “discrimination” would immediately be applied.  [Quote] “But when we find out that conservatives are underrepresented among us by a large margin,” Dr. Haidt concluded, “Suddenly everyone finds it quite easy to give other reasons why.”  [End Quote]  Dr. Haidt referred to his colleagues as a “tribe.”  He asked his tribal community to open their research to other perspectives, no matter if they be liberal, libertarian, or conservative.

Liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, Social Left, and Cultural Right all need to listen.  Let’s be honest: we all have our own biases.  If we are truthful, we are prejudice, we do discriminate, we are unfair, and we do play favorites.  But after we admit the problems of our nature we should then admit others into our group.  We may find ourselves to be polar opposites.  But from time to time we should invite those at the opposite pole to join us at ours.  For Moody Radio, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.

While Mark believes open-mindedness is impossible, and closed-mindedness is unacceptable, broad-mindedness should win the day.  This blog will air on Moody Radio during the summer of 2011.


[1] www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08tier.html?_r=2&emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

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