It’s Vulnerable and Difficult to Admit When Bias Gets In the Way of the Truth – But We Need To Do It Anyway
By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Bias is such a powerful thing – and bias doesn’t always tell the truth.
I saw the original video clip and I will fully admit I had very strong feelings about what I saw. It brought tears of anger and feelings of rage.
However, after spending a lot of time this morning watching a lot of video, I have to admit, that small video clip, taken out of context in more than an hour of film, isn’t fully accurate in the story it tells.
It is really easy, maybe almost second nature for me to have preconceived ideas about a group of kids, (people), wearing MAGA hats attending a pro-life rally. And even as I admit, I may not have been right about my original judgments on what happened out there, it is still almost impossible for me to let go of those strong feelings.
I am a white woman, and if I saw a group of MAGA hat wearing people walking toward me on the sidewalk, I’d cross the street. I might even be afraid. I can’t imagine how a person of color might feel in that situation.
However, when I look at this photo, in light of having watched the tape and read this kids statement, I can see it in a different light if I let myself. These kids got themselves in a weird confrontation with another group – that they didn’t start. The Native Elder moved himself and his group into harm’s way to help de-escalate that confrontation. It looks to me like Nathan Phillips and his group did a heroic thing – and I can understand why his group might have felt intimidated and how in the heat of the moment, some members of Phillips group might not have known what he was thinking.
But, back to bias – I still don’t love what those kids stand for, I’m certainly not impressed with all of their behavior, and I don’t think they were faultless – but after watching all the video, I know for a fact I let my biases against certain people inform what I believed about a situation without checking my sources or checking myself.
That’s what bias does – unconscious bias does it in the dark. WE ALL HAVE BIASES – and most of the time they run unchecked.
One of the keys to unlocking a bias is being willing to admit when you get it wrong. And that’s hard for me when it comes to a group of MAGA wearing Anti-abortion rally attending kids. Even as I am typing this, I keep typing and erasing the words, “may have been wrong”. Because there is no “may have been” about it.
I’m not ever likely to want to hang with people like those kids – those are not my people. I don’t like their politics. However, without a doubt and no qualification, I was wrong about that kid in the photo and his friends. My biases got the best of me. I get a certain satisfaction from not liking certain people. That is not something I’m proud of, but it’s true.
I still think Nathan Phillips is a hero.
So, at least I got one thing right.
Checking your biases is hard, dirty, unpleasant work. However, we’re never going to untangle this mess until we are collectively willing to go there.
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Lisa M. Hayes, Senior Editor of Confluence Daily.
Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.