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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ashley Queen

Check Your Bias at the Door

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

I was at a coffee shop this afternoon when a customer brought up the shooting at YouTube’s Headquarters in California.

The conversation was a bit solemn, reflective, and almost a “here we go again” type of air floating among the group. Then, suddenly a woman walked over in almost excitement to chime in and say,

“it was a girl…a woman”, with a smile on her face.

A few of the group shook their heads while others chuckled in disbelief. I shook my head in disbelief as well, not because it was allegedly a female shooter, but that a group of once solemn and reflective people suddenly found this to be comical.

Afterwards, the situation made me reflect to myself [about something addressed time and time again]: there truly are distinct differences in how people respond to situations based on bias.

How could something so prominent in society’s minds suddenly become something comical just by changing the image of the star character?

How often do we as hiring managers, choose a candidate for a position because we give an extra push to one applicant over one equally qualified applicant? But why them? How often do we avoid conversation and connecting with certain people because they don’t seem like someone you would be comfortable speaking to? And why?

How often do we perceive others as a threat, not because they actually did something to us, but because they fit the description of a person who MIGHT be threatening? And how often is that described person, actually a threat in the first place? [I think you know where I am going with that one; and its not the sunken place].

In fact, I will spell it out...right now.

People have a lack of understanding that society and propaganda creates unwarranted fear and mistrust. People lack the self-awareness to see how their views are shaped. And people lack the humanity and compassion to try to get to know people they either fear or do not understand.

And based on the original point, how often do we assign bias based on gender? Is the now deceased woman allegedly being a shooter comical because of the notion that if a woman did that, she MUST have had a good damn reason? Please don’t laugh, because I know at least 60% of you did; the same amount who laughed in the earlier scenario I witnessed.

But then again, is this funny? And why?

What drives gender bias, racial bias, socio-economic, religious, and political bias? Though I am pretty sure you can come up with a few ideas, feel free to click the link on each type of bias to get you started on understanding more before you enter a non-stop dimension of google searches. How does one achieve personal growth?

Well one element is to take an inventory on how you think and make decisions based on the influence of your environment.

And then, determine if those choices are logical, fair with respect to the bigger picture, and are truly reflective of your own choices rather than those governed by others. I encourage you to check out those links for solutions on how you can recognize and begin to address biases you may have.

I'm here for it.

-Dr. Queen


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