Difference in Opinon

I’m a blue collar worker, I’m not like the rest of the people on our street or neighborhood. The people here, they know I’m a blue collar, so they ask for signs to be put up, forbidding my work truck to be in a spot, in front of my house from 6 am to 6 pm, but they don’t come up to me and say I’m the problem. This sign ‘just appears,’ but it’s a sign saying my job isn’t ‘good enough’. It’s frustrating.” Says my father to me as we discuss our living situation. My father constantly talks about his job, and compares it to the neighbors’, so I thought it’d be interesting to find out where he stands on biases in his life.

Biases are everywhere, and we can’t escape them whether we want to or not. They are apart of our system involving culture, it’s as if they “run the world.” Biases are influenced by advertisements, propaganda in advertising that we see, and most importantly, how we are raised to be, to who we’re supposed to become. Our personal biases form blind spots, meaning areas that we just don’t truly know, and haven’t really experienced. Biases aren’t strictly negative, they can also have a positive influence in one’s life. In my life, I know I have biases that are both negative and positive. It’s interesting, though, to see how your own family deals with biases, you think you’d be similar.. Talking to my father about biases, he seemed to have a different opinion as to whether or not if he actually had them.

As I was interviewing my dad, I asked, “Do you think you have any biases in any aspect of your life?” His reply was simple, “Sure I do, but I try to not. That’s a tough question. I try to give everybody an equal/even break. But inevitably I judge people.” When I asked what he may have thought some of those biases may be, he was very adamant in telling me that he didn’t think he was biased towards one certain person/people over another. Whether it be somebody of a different race, or religious type. My father did state he was biased against politicians or any executive that use their office for self gain. Now, most people, in their eyes, would agree with what my father said. But what I found through my father’s answer about not being biased against any one person compared to the race IAT that I had him take was very different.

The first trial my father took was inconclusive, due to not reading the directions carefully. As he took it a second time, I found his answers a little surprising: Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for European American compared to African American. My dad has a very kind heart, and his opinion on not being judgemental towards any group or person wasn’t surprising, so when his result for the IAT was strong, I found it shocking. Now, maybe his fingers slipped, or maybe there were some other complications while taking the test, but having a preference to one race, European American or African American, is generally seen in most peoples’ racial IAT results.

In Joseph Goebbels speech, he stated, “History proves that the greatest world movements have always developed when their leaders knew how to unify their followers under a short, clear theme…Christ’s goal was clear and simple: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’...The idea... is applied to every aspect of daily life and becomes the guide for all human activity.” What Goebbels means is that when there is a clear goal, or theme that is simple and short, people are likely to follow. This following becomes huge, so huge in fact it can create a chain reaction that can have lasting effects, such as a guide for how people live day to day. My father follows this statement, simply because he did state he tries to see everybody equally. As my dad follows this statement, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” it affects him in everyday life, just like Goebbels said. When my father goes to work, drives, meets new people, and does whatever his day to day life involves, he approaches every opportunity with a human being with the intention to accept them, and embrace them as if they are just like him. What almost all humans would like to think of themselves as is being neutral, with no preference for  European American and African American, or any race. However, this isn’t usually the case. As Christ’s statement affects a lot of people in this world, and they practice this, it does not mean it’s 100% effective. It is shown that many people, at least in America, have a preference more towards European American, rather than African American. We don’t want that, but it’s facing up to the often hidden truth that scares us the most.

As I asked my father, “How do your results make you feel compared to what you actually think about yourself?” His reply was one of skepticism, and he didn’t like to think that his preference to European American over African American was strong. “I want to know how they get this conclusion, it doesn’t seem like it’s very accurate,” my father said out loud, still examining his results. He seemed a little disturbed, as I showed him and explained to him the process in which they get the conclusion. I think he still believes he looks at everyone with an equal eye, whether he thinks the test is accurate or not. Now, I believe if we were to take the race IAT again, his results may be different. I even took the race IAT twice, and once was a moderate preference for European American, and the other time was a strong preference.

It is clear that biases have affected us in ways we aren’t conscious of. Whether we believe it or not, we all have them. Now coming to terms with them, and facing it, can be hard. As it was for my dad to believe his kind hearted, accepting personality could be so strongly towards one race than another. Whether they be good or bad, biases are affecting us everyday, even if sometimes we just don’t know it.

Comments (3)

Sean Morris (Student 2016)
Sean Morris

You handled a more personal matter in a way that was professional and interesting to read, well done! If I have any suggestions for next time it might be to include what your own scores and maybe you can compare them or something like that.

Adowa Mohamed (Student 2016)
Adowa Mohamed

I really like how you interviewed your dad as a source. Then analyzed what he said and what his perspective of bias's were. I feel like you could asked more questions that related to bias's. But overall I really liked this writing piece it fit well with the main question which was "How do systems shape the world."

Rafi Hares (Student 2016)
Rafi Hares

The idea of bias affecting our subconscious is a very controversial topic. Sometimes people say offensive things without meaning them. Being able to look at your Dad's bias's to better understand what kind of person shows how great of an analyst and write you really are.