The Bias Paper Assignment:

conscious, subconscious and unconscious. Your bias paper should focus on your conscious biases. Please write about biases that have an effect on your critical thinking. Biases against onions or polka dots do not affect thinking like biases against people who look poor or athletic, for example. Remember, I’d like you to focus on biases that cause your to make assumptions about other people/cultures based on appearances (language, dress, physical make-up, house, car, accent, etc). These biases may impede our ability to experience new people and/or cultures because our minds are already made up about them. When someone makes an assumption about someone else based on their appearance (dress, physicality, voice, car, skin color, language, job, home, etc) they objectify that person. To objectify someone is to make someone an object like “a bum”, for example. That person no longer has an interiority, i.e. personal subjectivity like hopes, dreams, fears or fantasies. Now they are just “a bum”. This is where stereotypes come from and why they are so detrimental to people. We all have biases. Some of us have biases against axe-murderers (I do) while others have biases against dog owners. For others, the biases are not so clear – do I have a bias against someone who looks poor if I lock my car doors when I drive through a poor neighborhood?  Yes I do. Is it bad to have biases? Well, that’s a very good question. It isn’t a matter of bad or good. What matters is that we become skilled critical thinkers. Being aware of our personal biases is vital to keeping an open mind and to stay in control of our thought processes instead of having unknown biases affect our life decisions. Living life at the whim of our biases is like driving blind. This paper is designed to help you explore your biases and discover their sources. Conscious biases are learned behaviors (as opposed to sub or unconscious biases which have neurological sources as well like fear of snakes, for example). Your paper should be comprised of three sections. First, you need to write a little about yourselves, where are you from, what kind of family do you have, what were some major influences on your upbringing. Secondly, choose 3 biases that you’ve discovered about yourself then explain them and discuss how they affect your life. Finally, discuss the sources of each bias. Go back in time or go deep in your self and think about where these biases came from. If you discover that your bias comes from an unquestionable or inevitable source, please explain that source in detail.


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