January 13, 2009

Unbiased take on biases

I do not like prejudices. We all seem to have them. As much as one would want to shrug it off, they are more actively present in our subliminal realm than we would ever accept. For instance, a bias towards fairer skin is one of the most widespread amongst us. Or a craving for more marks let it be at whatever cost. A mature and literate society needs to be more broad-minded than this. I feel so.

I don’t intend to be the flag-bearer for pro-modern society. I do not necessarily opine in favor of live-in relationships, same sex marriages, less moral stances against divorces, lenient norms on smoking, etc. I am not an institution and I desist imposing my thoughts on others. I am only hoping for a more balanced ‘thought-system’.

Whenever a divorce happens, I always keep hearing that it is because the wife in the relationship could not adjust well. What makes us think that the husband is absolved of all such ‘adjustments’ to make a relationship work? Surely lesser people are guarding such biases within them, but people who still do are a large enough number, even if lesser.

When a maid in a house cries foul that her employer is exploiting her, it is easy to see people take her side. The fact that the employer is in a dominating position in this case will be adequate enough to raise questions about his doings and integrity.

In a case of a road accident where a car or a bike hits a pedestrian, we jump to conclude that it was a case of rash driving. Where the pedestrian was walking – whether on the footpath or at the middle of the road talking on the cell – is irrelevant, nay? Or for that matter, in any typical matter of rift between a poor and a rich, the bias is to take the side of poor.

When a relationship between a couple withers off before it reaches its ‘logical’ end in marriage, the man in the relationship is the one who is generally supposed to have triggered it leaving the woman lonely and vulnerable at a difficult crossroad of her life. The woman is left heart-broken and sobbing. Aren’t guys the more insensitive of the two sexes, as a rule?

A lot of moral stigma is imposed on a person who decides to part with his parents and leave the old couple at an old-age home. But when a working couple decides to leave back a child with baby-sitting or boarding, it is seen very differently. How are the two treatments different? Should they not be seen in similar light?

Am I raising these points because I am on the ‘victimized’ side of the group in some of these instances? Are your thoughts veering towards this question? Well, then that is one more instance of a pre-conceived bias that we all live with. One that expects only affected and ‘interested’ parties to voice their opinions.

A free, open mind can and should think on matters that are beyond their direct universe. This post is a simple output based on many such biases I have observed and witnessed in the world around me. I cannot change the entire world, but I can surely insist myself to be more fair, more balanced, more unbiased and more non-judgmental about a lot of issues and matters. Also, I hope to influence few more active minds in the process.

Each issue in life is separate from the rest. Hindsight bias makes us believe that what has been true to most will be true to all. If educated beings like us take this view, then what good has been the education and wisdom been? In any situation, howsoever difficult it may seem, a clear mind must be able to make impartial assessments. Assessments that are based on rationale and not biases...


Ren said...

You are absolutely right my friend:) I would like to quote a professor of mine, he was talking to International students about Understanding British Culture, he said " Prejudice is a good place to start but a bad place to be stuck at"

nikita..... said...

beautiful write up... something that each one of us observes.. faces.. however very few bring out an unbiased thought this way :-)

great going... :-)

btw.. its one all know.. i was about to write on this one ;)

joamoo said...

If we understand our life, we are actually 'programmed' to live in a particular situation.
Right from childhood, whatever has been taught to us directly OR indirectly, gets reflected in our behaviour.

We will always be biased about things we known in some or the other way.

Point is, Educated Minds(Not necessarily a mind able to get a degree) will OVERCOME this bias.

BECAUSE we always tend to RATE other people based on the knowledge-base we have, we CLOSE our brain.

We all KNOW many things, but not all of 'we' UNDERSTAND the things.

( I havent established a direct connection with the topic; I think its Okay)

U No Hoo said...

Excellent point Akshay. Appreciate it.

nivedithasperceptions said...

I don't think it is wise to have an opinion before you have enough information.
Most of the times, most of the people (including me) tend to do that, which is not a wise thing...
Well written though