This week was one of many weeks that I wished I was at home in Virginia, to go say thank you to Ruth. I loved many things about her: her jabot, her brilliance, her defiance, her kindness. She was relentlessly devoted to human dignity.
Here is a post my friend Carlo wrote about bias, that I thought was objective and productive. It reminded me of RBG and her fight for the underdog; I wish RBG could read and elaborate on his opinion. In his thoughts below, Carlo says we all have bias; it’s only when we treat people worse because of our biases that we create problems.
“Being afraid of people we don’t identify as our group (foreigners, people with different skin color than yours, people with different sexual orientation, people with another gender identification, people with different habits, people with different religion ,…) it’s an instinct, a bias.
Bias are not a fault, they are instinctive reactions, like feeling appetite when you see food or disgust when you smell an unpleasant smell. These are reactions that our brain has developed in millions of years to keep us safe, to maximize our probability of survival.
There’s nothing wrong with this, because it’s not a reaction we can control.
When a bias leads us to carry out discriminatory actions, not based on actual data, then that bias becomes a problem (misogynistic, racist, homophobic, transphobic, religious hatred). Coming for example extreme, having a sexual attraction to a person is a natural instinct, reacting to this instinct by raping them is a horrible act and not justified under any circumstances.
The first step is to figure out which bias we have. First of all I found many of them in myself.
The second step is to accept them, since they are instinctive reactions, and consider them when making a decision.I’m saying this because I think it makes sense? Or is it just that that person has a certain sexual orientation?
I’m doing this because I think it’s correct? Or is it just because I’m talking to a woman.
Am I keeping someone at a distance because I have a sensible reason to be afraid of them? Or is it just because it has a different skin color than mine?
This is what makes us human beings.
Questioning is very important. Try rethinking something you said or did and understand why you said it or did it.
Is it hard? Yes, yes. Is it worth it and can change our lives and others lives? Yes, yes.
Thanks Carlo! You are right.
We will miss you, Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg.