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Old 10-28-2007, 03:17 AM   #1
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the introspection thread -- bias

So often threads here in FYM descend into:

"You're biased/a bigot/too blinded by your prejudice to see anything else!"
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are!"
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are!"
"No I'm not!"
over and over and over -- sometimes for pages (esp. when the mod's away )

What I'm proposing for this thread is instead of telling other people how biased they are we each take a look at ourselves and disclose one of our biases. Just one -- we don't have to spill all the dirt on ourselves.

A few rules for this exercise (which I know I can't enforce, but I'd like to pretend we are adults -- just this once ):

1) this is for disclosing your bias, NOT someone else's.
2) don't pull the old job interview/beauty queen trick of "turning a negative into a positive" ie., don't say "my bias is I can't stand hate." Big deal -- most of us can't stand what we perceive as hate. If you really cannot find any prejudice in you don't post here (or you can post "I'm as pure as driven snow" but I think most of the rest of us will roll our eyes and laugh)
3) let's not attack anyone for his/her confessions here. It's easy to say "you have preconceived ideas about people"; it's a lot harder to look inward and find one's own preconceived notions about others.
4) it can be a bias or prejudice you have nearly quashed or just feel minor twinges. It doesn't have to be foaming at the mouth hatred.
5) you can do some explaining why you think you hold this feeling if you'd like, but don't excuse it


I'm sure you'll all be shocked at my disclosure.

Overtly spiritual types. It's not just fundamentalists (all brands, not just Christian) or members of established religions although it does include them, it's anyone who's "spiritualness" is front and center and generally very visible. In addition to people from established major religions this can range from the "I'm really into crystals" new agey person to the blood drinking devil worshipper (I'll grant you I haven't met many of the latter ).

My nearly knee-jerk reaction is almost always "oh shit" and I also tend to have a "guilty until proven innocent" feeling towards them. Logically I know the majority of people -- even people I disagree with on several points -- are decent and I should treat them (and everyone else) innocent until proven guilty, but my initial reaction is negative and doing what I know should be automatic takes some effort. Sometimes it takes a LOT of effort!


Ok...who's next?
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:48 AM   #2
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I'm with you indra.
Its not that I don't like, or don't trust religious people, but its this slightly pitying fascination I have with people of pure wear it as a badge onwards christian soldier type of belief.
And its really only towards fundies, and extreme islamics and catholics and extreme judaism. Basically any religious that believes in a God. I'm pretty ok with people believing in crystals and shit. (oh and any religious that worships heaps of gods)

As i've said in here before as soon as a bible scripture or a mention of the almighty gets brought into a conversation/debate its over for me. I've just seem to many horrendous horrible people and things happen in the name of God, and I still (and if im honest maybe never will) can't understand how someone can live in this world as is, and actually believe someone is up there looking out for us.

If im even more honest, I totally understand the want and need to have some sort of protector or almighty laying our your life plan for you, but im frankly to much of a realist to even give into flights of fantasy.

Sometimes I'm not tolerant of VERY religious people, and through FYM i'm trying to be but its hard. Very hard.

edited: cause amy can't write code
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Old 10-28-2007, 05:38 AM   #3
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i confess (?) that i get nervous and very uncomfortable around people who talk about religion, god, jesus, or anything related to such. people talking about religion really gets me antsy. i perceive fundamentalism even if it isn't there. i'd rather people don't talk about it. and what's worse, it's mainly christian religions. in fact, it's only christian religions, if i'm totally honest. i can listen to buddhists whaffle on for hours, fascinated, but someone who reads the bible makes me very nervous.


i also may as well add that i think christianity is a load of balls, belief in such is a sign of a lack of sense, or something... i liken it to being brainwashed. i know i am mortally offending many people here, but i just want to be honest. the stupidest aspect of my unfair judgement is that i don't necessarily not believe in (a) god. i'm not sure what i believe in, but it's not really about god, or lack of, here. it's religious people. the church itself doesn't bother me. i love architecture and stained glass. it's the people inside.
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:40 AM   #4
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1. I have a bias against people who hold extremist viewpoints
that don't acknowledge the concerns of the other side. I
particularly am biased against rightwing conservative
viewpoint which I often consider venomous. Paradoxically,
some of the friendships/relationships I hold especially dear
are with people with a decidedly rightwing viewpoint who
would give you the shirt off their backs, whom I've never seen
personally do an unkind thing (while some of the liberals I
know are also some of the unkindest people I know). So we
agree not to talk politics. But when I cannot see the person
behind the viewpoint, I make assumptions. I find lockstep
conservatism and lockstep liberalism unproductive so often
don't give these more than passing attention and often
miss what they could offer me because I've stopped listening.
2. I have a bias against people in authority or power. I expect
them to abuse it. (I definitely have trust issues there.)
3. I have a bias against pretty much all politicians.
4. I have a bias against people who talk global warming. Not
that I necessarily disagree with them. I just find it insanely
boring.
5. I have a bias against Yankee fans.
6. I have a bias toward immigration and even toward illegal
immigration, because frankly if it wasn't for one illegal
immigrant, there would be no me. I'm very sympathetic
on this issue.
7. I have a bias toward Canadian musicians, Canadian hockey
players and Russian figure skaters.
8. I've been struggling with how I feel about my country for
the last several years. So it may come across as an anti-
American bias, though I don't think it is.
9. I have other biases and possible bigotries that cloud my
judgment that I won't get into here. I'm aware of them,
but they don't affect my discussions here for the most part.

Oh, and a bias against people who want me to just list one thing
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Old 10-28-2007, 08:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
5. I have a bias against Yankee fans.
I agree whole-heartedly with this one. I ran into so many obnoxious Yankee fans growing up in CT that when I see that cap there's a part of my mind that's thinking "a**hole".

Anyway...

I have a pretty big bias agains rich people. It's the Marxist in me I guess. Especially the trust-fund types who crow the loudest about their money, that they never had to lift a single finger to make. But even the self-made types to a degree, as I tend to assume they either made good in a less-than-honorable way, or just made their fortune off the back(s) of somebody else. When they give to charity I just assume it's for the tax break. I also have a bias against the highly visible celebrity types, you know, the blatant conspicuous consumption types. All the E channel etc that my wife watches just intensifies this. When the paparazzi are chasing Paris & Britney, yep I'm rooting for the paparazzi. Big time.

I'm biased against white people (and yes I'm white), particularly what I perceive to be white bigotry. When I hear somebody accuse someone of "playing the race card" I mentally slap on the bigot label. And it's hard to get off. Ditto when I hear certain arguments. For example when I hear arguments against affirmative action etc. that center around the white male American as a victim...I assume bigot. Ditto anti-immigration types. Bigots, all of them.

I'm generally biased toward women. I think it's based on my tendency to idealize women...but when I read/hear a story about a rape or some other such crime against a woman I immediately assume guilt, and it's hard for me to let that go - I think I was the last person in America to admit the Duke lacrosse players weren't guilty.

I have a general bian against social conservatives & conservatism. While I don't agree philosophically with economic conservatives I can at least see where they're coming from, so the bias isn't there. But when I hear the standard social conservative arguments against same-sex marriage, for their religion in school, for Constitutional amendments banning lots of things etc I see people trying to control others' lives, because the only arguments I hear supporting these types of things are either biblically based or obvious attempts to maintain the status quo "just because".
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Old 10-28-2007, 10:29 AM   #6
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I have a bias against those who don't back up their arguments, no matter here or anywhere else in life. If someone doesn't respond to my inquiry, doesn't say anything relevant, says something like "I don't know why" or "Just because," that's probably the most frustrating thing in the world to me (other than not knowing where something is - fuck, where is my Franz Ferdinand CD?).

I'm independent, so I normally have no political biases, but on this board, I tend to be a bit biased against the conservatives, which is a bit of a change for me from real life. I tend to lean liberally on moral issues and conservatively on economic issues, but here the discussion focuses more on moral issues, hence I seem more liberal.

I'm probably the single most cynical 16-year old you'll ever meet. If you ever watch a sports game with me, that often comes out. It's not long before I get to the, "He's making millions every year and is scared to take a hit!" line of arguing. Not just in sports, though, in politics also, in general parts of life. I guess I think successful people generally don't give back nearly as much as they should, depending on their specific duties.

I am biased against west coast people because they can watch later sports games at reasonable hours.

I am also biased against tall people.
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Old 10-29-2007, 04:44 AM   #7
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booo from the 6 foot australian over here phillyfan! :P
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:43 AM   #8
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I agree with practically everything in BonoSaint's post, as well as the religious and women-oriented ones-all explained much better than I would, so I'll just ditto that.

I guess one of my big biases is against sports and sports-related things. Maybe it's just that I've never been that good at sports, maybe it's the result of watching music and art programs in schools struggle and have to resort to fundraising while sports programs get handouts like nothing else, maybe it's watching towns practically come to blows over a simple game and making losing into a freakin' tragedy or something (and then there's the serious gender bias some sports and some particular towns have on top of everything), maybe it's the special treatment athletes always seem to get, but I just always get wary of anything connected to the topic. And hearing about athletes getting in trouble every other week for drugs and abuse and whatnot really doesn't help my opinion of the whole thing, either. When I hear about someone taking steroids or whatever, it really doesn't surprise me. And I fall victim occasionally to the "stupid jock" mentality, too.

I know all these sorts of problems plague other areas of life, too, I know that, and I keep trying to remind myself of that fact all the time, but for some reason that line of thinking just keeps popping up. It doesn't make sense, but there you go.

Angela
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:51 AM   #9
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Did I tell you how good it is to have you back, Angela? I missed your posts.
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
Oh, and a bias against people who want me to just list one thing


I figured it would be hard enough to get people to admit to one bias -- I didn't want to scare people off by telling 'em to come completely clean!
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
Did I tell you how good it is to have you back, Angela? I missed your posts.
Aw . It's good to be back, you're all reminding me of why I love this place so much. I really missed it.

Thanks for saying that, I really appreciate it.

Angela
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:01 AM   #12
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Bias. . .

Wow, you're asking from searing honesty!

I'm turned off by Christian conservatism and really any kind of relgio-political stuff, but I don't call that true bias because it's not as if I meet a conservative Christian and automatically dislike them. . .It's the VIEWS not the people I have a problem with. . .

To me bias, is a judgement you make as soon as you meet the person, before you hear their views, so using that defintion, I would have to confess to being somewhat biased when it comes to the local people where I live. I know, you'd think after 10 years here I'd be LESS prejudiced not more, but I've found that when you've lived in a different culture for awhile you tend to develop a false sense that you "get" that culture, that you know
"what they're all about" when really you've just scratched the surface and a lot of what you think you know is just stereotypes, not to mention that no individual can be judged based on some broad view of "those people." Nonetheless, I find I tend to make negative presumptions about many of the indigenous people--the usual "they're lazy, not real smart, dishonest" etc.

I'm not proud of this.

The worst part is that I tend to have a real snobbish view of mainland Americans as well. . . As I commented to my sister a year or two back:

"You reach the point where you think everybody back in the U.S. is a clueless jerk, and everybody in Saipan is a clueless jerk, which turns you into the most horrible kind of miserable misanthrope."

Actually, it's not that bad. . . Still it's something I have to be aware of and make a point of resisting.
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:20 AM   #13
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I have several...

1. People that are constantly negative about everything and ragging on everyone really turn me off. This mostly happens with regard to politics and political discussion. I don't even want to hear/read their points, even if I might agree with some or are basically standing at the same spot on the spectrum politically. I don't like it when people spend more time bashing the other side of the argument than starting good discussions about their own.

2. People who have nice families, nice houses, a nice job, but have never really put themselves out of their comfort zone also turn me off. I admire people who stand by what they believe because it helps others, not so much people that stand by what they believe because it mainly helps themselves.

3. Christian fundamentalism, 'nuf said.
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje
I have several...

1. People that are constantly negative about everything and ragging on everyone really turn me off. This mostly happens with regard to politics and political discussion. I don't even want to hear/read their points, even if I might agree with some or are basically standing at the same spot on the spectrum politically. I don't like it when people spend more time bashing the other side of the argument than starting good discussions about their own.

2. People who have nice families, nice houses, a nice job, but have never really put themselves out of their comfort zone also turn me off. I admire people who stand by what they believe because it helps others, not so much people that stand by what they believe because it mainly helps themselves.

3. Christian fundamentalism, 'nuf said.
that's it !
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Old 10-30-2007, 11:10 AM   #15
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I have an opposite bias. Even though I am quite liberal economically and are fairly centrist socially...I find myself feeling wary when the self-identified liberals speak on this board. I sense their views on religion and often get a little defensive. I am a religious type....and I do strongly believe in Christianity. I have a bias against those who see religious people as mindless and unthinking...
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