Program #MAGY001. Recorded in Ottawa, Ontario on June 25, 2016.
We all almost automatically think of ourselves as somehow evolved and enlightened and free from bias. Hey, I look at someone and judge that person on the merits of his or her character. Race, class, gender, age, sexual orientation, geographical origin, accent don’t factor in at all. We might be kidding ourselves to think we are free from prejudice. Cognitive shortcuts, based on negative stereotypes, can cause problems when we are unaware of them and can lead to wrong decisions and discriminatory practices. Take for example the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. All the same? Hardly. But the media are not into subtleties. They need simple descriptions. Muslims are like this. Islam is like that. Bias tends to be deep and requires work to identify and root out. Recognition is the first step in eliminating bias. But keeping them in check requires a delicate balance of self-awareness.
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