Thursday, October 8, 2020

P.S. - The Definition of Implicit Bias - and Thank You, Fair Men of the World, For Noticing :)

So, I've been reading these critiques - not by politicians themselves, their press, or their pundits - but insights by political science professors and other collegiate debate academia, weighing in on the Harris/Pence debate performance - who although displayed some political bias, were surprisingly pretty fair in assessing their actual debate performance - at least thus far lol ;)

Overall, I'm pleased to see a new level of fairness in the critiquing from the standpoint of gender, on all sides of the political spectrum - focusing on the actual content - thank you :)

There were a few residual implicit bias moments in your critiques; but overall, fairly good job :)

Thus, may I give you my analysis/critique and grade your feedback in watching this debate, and whether or not you had any moments of succumbing to implicit systemic cultural bias, this time more on gender, when watching this debate? :)

However, before I do that - allow me to explain what implicit bias is, because this term was used last night during the debate on our justice system, as well as explain the difference between "implicit bias" and actual true, explicit racism, as well as the difference between or "implicit bias" and actual true, explicit sexism and misogyny - because there ARE differences.

Implicit bias is having a subjective bias on an issue that prevents you from seeing a situation clearly and objectively -  whether conscious, semi-conscious, or unconscious - which can negatively impact the outcome, and can result in failure of a task project. 

We all have biases, based on our culture, how we were socialized, and even our education.  However, just like scientists performing an experiment, in order to have the best possible outcome, we have to become self-aware of our biases and remove them to objectively analyze a situation, lest that variable skew the outcome and result in failure.

In other words, to achieve the most  successful outcome and results,  rather than failure, for any project - it's important to become aware of, assess, and at least attempt to remove our own subjective biases first.

This is no easy feat - because we are all subject to implicit bias - that sometimes we don't notice ourselves, because we're not the target, or we've have gotten so used to them, we don't even notice them anymore, but they are nevertheless still toxic or negatively impacting society.

Having implicit bias doesn't necessarily mean you are racist or sexist (although it can) - it means you are human, a product of your environment and culture, and possibly need more personal experience with other groups of people not exactly like yourself.

As much as we take pride in our upbringing and culture, no culture is perfect - so it's important to examine things our environment and culture got wrong, as much as we focus on what they got right - that is, IF we are interested in improvement :) 

If you're not interested in improvement and think both you, and your culture, are perfect and fine the way you are - or refuse to even  look for bias or flaws,  okay - but don't expect anyone not just like you to give you flowers for it ;)

In fact, you can even think you despise and combat racism, but don't realize your culturally-ingrained subjective biases are causing you to still view things preferentially, or not even notice double-standards.

In this way, although implicit bias may not be true racism or sexism, it can be just as non-productive, and even harmful, having just as much negative impact as true racism or sexism does, and is, because it is, by its nature, an enabler of racism and sexism - even if you don't intend to be.

Implicit bias is not something to be ashamed of - it's human nature - but as Katherine Hepburn said in "The African Queen" - "(Human) nature is what we're here to rise above."

In fact, though I was trained in removing my bias during my social work education, and I'm pretty practiced and skilled at it - I still have to check myself, before I wreck myself, for cultural or socialized bias - or biased influence from people whom I otherwise admire and respect, and/or people who raised me.

Most of the time, successfully - but sometimes - not lol.

Now - with race, there's a fairly clear and obvious dividing line on identifying subjective bias. And even though we do see some dark-skinned people taking up only for the white side, it's uncommon.

However, identifying our own implicit bias regarding gender, it's trickier - because unlike racial bias, it's actually common for women themselves to enable gender bias  - even misogyny.

For example, when women bash other women, particularly on physical appearance or sexual behavior, due to succumbing to old cultural rules regarding female competition for male attention or just to please males (fat, slut, ugly)?

Or automatically accusing other women of lying when claiming rape, harassment, or assault?

Or calling them "drama queens just wanting attention" or "crazy controlling bitch," when we have no such term for men who do the same thing; in fact, we often praise men who behave this way (in fact, we have one as POTUS.)

And my fellow liberal sisters?  

I'm talking to many of you, too. 

When you blame women for their own sexual harassment, assault, and rape - just because they want to look attractive  - you are every bit as guilty of victim-blaming and enabling/perpetuating sexism and cultural-rot misogyny as many conservative men, yourselves.

Now - back to grading the male "graders" on this debate, on whether or not that succumbed to their implicit cultural bias based on gender.


Overall,  you get a B-  and here's why:

1)  "Mr. Vice President?  I'm speaking. May I finish? Thank you." 


Thank you for noticing that even though all candidates sometimes go a few seconds past their time, at times,  including in last night's debate - most often, Kamala requested more time, where as Pence most often demanded it - and kept interrupting both Kamala and the moderator, either deflecting/changing the subject from the question asked, or ignoring the moderator's question completely, as if she didn't even speak. 

As one one critique put it, "It was like watching Trump Lite." LOL


Though it's true that interruptions happen with men, too -  as we saw to an extreme level with Trump -  this debate particularly highlighted the propensity for some men to dismiss - even pointedly ignore questions, as if they were never asked - when they come from women, in favor of their own assumed  'more important' agenda.


This is something that even non-sexist men truly do not notice, because again, they're not the target  - how much some men think that they can interrupt  and shut down women, when they are speaking - in families, in meetings, in everyday conversation.  


And it's not usually intentional or conscious - but they ARE devaluing/demeaning remnants leftovers, cultural rot - from the old: "The man is speaking now, and what he has to say is always more important, shut up" days -  and it's nonsense.




When someone else is speaking -  male or female -  especially during their allotted time, it's rude to interrupt - male or female.  

And the value of what a person says has yet to be determined, based on the content of what next comes out of their mouths - and not presumed important based solely on gender. 


2)  Thank you for praising Kamala's "Don't lecture me (on crime)" - and for noticing that this statement wasn't  about  gender or "women not liking being lectured by a man."  - it was about her being a former DA/prosecuting attorney and he wasn't - period.


3)  Related to this same point, thank you for NOT twisting those times she had to get tough with Pence into the "angry black woman" stereotype. 


4)  Thank you for NOT mentioning her appearance or what she was wearing, focusing instead on her content instead - content being of paramount importance in these debates, this year.


5)  Related, thank you for being fair in assessing that content, giving both positive and negative feedback on ways they both could improve. 


So overall, "ya 'dun good"  - Grade B-.

Why only a B-?

Well, here's where you could become more aware of your subjective implicit bias and improve:

1)  I'm gonna have to give you an F on falling for Pence's ancient sexist trick. 

Pence completely ignored the question he was pointedly asked by the (female) moderator -   on providing specifics on exactly how he would protect pre-existing conditions if Obamacare was repealed -  and instead, he  turned and asked Kamala if she and Biden were planning on "stacking the deck" - completely ignoring the female moderator as if she didn't even speak. 


Instead of focusing on that fact that Pence's Supreme Court question to Kamala was choosing his own subject, completely ignoring moderator's important question about pre-existing conditions altogether -  you focused instead on the fact that Kamala didn't answer his question - as if his question was more important than what the moderator just asked him?

So - you think accusing Kamala of possibly stacking the SCOTUS, despite the GOP clearly doing this themselves as we speak, is more important than the plan for protecting pre-existing conditions in healthcare?

Hm, I don't think so, nor do I think you think so  - both may be important. 

So ... why did you do that?

Well, since both questions are at the very least, equally important - with Pence's question perhaps actually being a moot point - the most likely explanation for your strange over-focus is - your implicit gender bias ;)

Also, it wasn't really a question so much as an accusation, that she just didn't take the bait on.  And an absurd one, at that, because that's what the GOP is doing as we speak, and Trump actually bragged on, during the last debate, how many seats Obama left open that he filled. 

2)  I'm also going to give you an F for saying the moderator "didn't control the debate."

And ... you think Chris Wallace did control the debate, last week?  


And you know dang well that if she had, she would've been called a "controlling bitch," whereas men aren't - see how that works?  

I agree, Susan could've done better - but the truth is, she's can't control the debate, as a female moderator - because she'd be or be labeled a controlling bitch who was unfair to Pence as a male, if she did. 

Which of course some Trumpers are saying anyway, even though Chris Wallace was much harsher on stopping Trump's refusal to respect time/interruptions than Susan was Pence doing the same thing "lite.

In fact, Chris Wallace said, "Sir. Sir! The answer is no, we're moving on."

Whereas Susan often just gave up and gave in, let Pence speak rather than stop him and move on.

Also, again, if the candidates requested more time, rather than demanded it, Susan often relented, "Okay, but 15 seconds."

Notice that Kamala most often requested more time, whereas Pence more often either demanded more time, or just kept talking.

Susan, just like Kamala, can't be as tough as they want and need to be, because we all know what will happen to women when they get too tough during a debate - they'll be labeled a controlling, crazy bitch. 

In fact, several times last night, I found myself saying out loud, "Kamala, you're doing great, but know that Trump, and even Pence, can raise their voice, get emotional, get angry, and name-call/say nasty things as as a man, but we women can't  - especially as a black woman - because you know what will happen - they'll pull the "angry black woman" card.  So careful, bring it back down."

Thus, in the end, most men don't realize that as women, we have o work harder - we have an extra layer hurdle during debate - which is keeping ourselves calm, smiley, and "warm" during a debate,  if/when men can't -  because if we do, it will be overly focused on, whereas this behavior is completely ignored in men, even praised.

Thus, I think Kamala should receive an extra points for being able to (mostly) accomplish this :)

I know those are only two items, but they're pretty big ones/carry more weight, plus they happened frequently - thus the B-.

So just like Kamala's performance, you "'dun great," gentlemen - but you still have work to do, too  ;) lol

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