Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A biased post

Years ago, I was new to Bakersfield when I got a call from a stranger, who was responding to my commentary in the local newspaper.  We briefly spoke, and a few days later it was dinner at his place.

He was an Indian-American professor at the local university.  He and his wife of a long marriage had awesome food waiting for us.

Well, it was his wife's cooking.  All Indian food, of course.

Oh, she was from Denmark--they had met decades earlier, when he was a graduate student in Denmark.

He often joked that while his wife was "mistaken" for an American because she is white, even though she was not born here, he was always viewed as an outsider.

One of his stories was about traveling in Europe in those old pre-1989 days, when in one of those countries he was held in detention until they were able to verify that his American passport was a legitimate one.  The security folks there apparently could not understand how there could be an American citizen who looked like him and talked the way he did. After all, the default image of an "American" is that of a white American.

We carry within our selves plenty of default definitions that lead to implicit bias of various types.  That implicit bias is also why, for instance, for all the feminist that I believe I am, well, I trip sometimes.  Deep, deep down there is somewhere in a dark corner the old biased views of women.

And then there are plenty who openly walk the talk of explicit bias.  That open talk means that even when they want to act polite, well, it fails.

Which is what happened to the pussygrabber potus when he was in Israel.  This virulent Islamophobe had just flown in after pretending to like the Muslims all around him.  This racist then told a room full of Israelis that he "just got back from the Middle East."

He "got back" from the Middle East when he was in Israel?  That can only mean one thing--he does not consider Israel to be a part of the Middle East.

Now, why would he think that Israel is not in the Middle East?

Oh, yeah, Islam and Muslims and Arabs.
What a dumbass.

I don't care that I am deeply, deeply biased against this horrible human being.


Ramesh said...

Yes, we all have biases, explicit or implicit. We are human. I don't think there was or is a single human being on earth without strong biases. Biases are a product of our beliefs, experiences and views on the world.

All we can do is to be as open minded as possible. You are a leader in that. Except for your recent very strong bias against anybody who voted for your President, you have been over the years I have known you one of the most open of persons. We'll forgive you one impenetrable "bias". Take a bow.

Sriram Khé said...

Ooooooooh, thanks for the compliments.

I would argue that it takes more than open-mindedness, and it needs active questioning of our belief systems.