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 Us and Our Biases 
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Last year I had an amazing class. It was the honors Nazi Holocaust class. This class was taught by Dr. Brantz and Dr. Boyd (who is a holocaust survivor). During this class, towards the end, we were required to write a bias paper. This was an eye opening experience. While I try, desperately, not to treat people who belong to different groups differently, I still have pre-conceived notions about people before I even talk to them. We all do this.
We talk about love-at-first-sight. At first sight you don't know anything about a person, just the way that they look. You have not had a conversation, or talked about politics or religion. We make friends within our comfort bubble. The majority of our friends are a lot like us. A challenge...think about your friends. Yes, there might be some outliers, but in general most of them belong to the same groups as you. Don't they?
Most people might be upset with me for making this comment, but I wish that during this class we were forced to look at ourselves. We keep looking at what other people have done or said, but we don't often address how we have reacted to different people in our past. Maybe this is because we don't want to offend people. I think it would benefit us all to write a paper, and think deep, about our biases. We have many. Just sit for a moment and think. You may try to treat everyone the same, like me, but there are people you think are lazy or people you think are not as smart as you. It happens, but to keep your biases from taking over, you must first know what they are.

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Lianna Denise Beard


Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:39 pm
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I agree, Lianna, that we all have our biases. And honestly, I don't think there will ever be a time in our lives that we aren't biased toward or against certain things. I think that biases and pre-conceived notions come from two things: our past experiences that we relate to similar people and ignorance. Maybe those two things come hand in hand. We have a few experiences with a few people (or maybe even one person) of a particular group and decide to characterize that group with that one person's trait. OR we are ignorant and sometimes simply uneducated about a group and make a pre-conceived notion about someone without getting to know them.

Yes, we are all guilty of this. And it goes beyond race. (I think you were hinting towards that when you spoke of people who are lazy, etc.) I agree that the first step to getting rid of that ignorance and trying to overcome those biases (or at least not let them hinder our ability to have relationships with people) is to be aware of our downfalls. When we are aware, we will be more conscience of ourselves and the things we say and do before we get to know people.

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Emily Fox :)


Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:36 pm
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Currently I am taking Old Testament Literature and my professor said on the first day of class that he was a Christian and that he believed that the Bible was the word of God. He then told us the reason that he told us was so that we could filter through anything he said with a knowledge of his bias. I think that this is a very good idea to use in the classroom because it allows the student to make better judgments on the material and how it is being presented thus invoking higher order thinking skills.

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Zach Yokley


Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:39 pm
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I have often thought the same thing as Lianna in class. I think we should look more into our pasts and ourselves as imperfect people when Dr. Turner gives us scenarios. As an appolcorps leader this year, I attended the freshman convocation where an inspirational speaker spoke. She did an exercise with all of the freshmen and leaders where she said many stereotypes aloud. If you agreed with the comment like "Black people love fried chicken" or "All asians are good at math and science" you would stand up, but if you didn't you would stay seated. She went through probably 30 stereotypes, each having many individuals sitting and likewise sitting. This truly opened up my eyes to the many differences among our peers as well as looking into ourselves to question why we thought the way we did.
I think we should all be aware of our biases and realize that WE ALL HAVE THEM! I also think that we're always going to have them as much as we try not to. It's a constant struggle to get rid of our preconceived notions about others but it's always good, especially as a teacher, to be aware of these so we give each student a truly equal opportunity to learn.

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Kristen Bumgarner


Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:11 pm
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I also agree with Lianna that we will all have our biases. I think sometimes it is hard to get over what we think about people that are not like ourselves. I will admit it, most of my friends have the same religious and social background as I. Taking it one more step, most of my close friends are involved with music as well. We all have the same interests, and it's not that we look down on people with different cultures or interests, I just think that it's "easier" for us to think they're just like they are and leave them alone...which is sad. In high school I noticed a girl in my class who was very different from everyone else. I do not want to go into detail, but for some reason I saw through her tough exterior and now we continue to keep in touch and are very close friends despite our differences.

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Maria Parker


Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:05 pm
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