Confirmation bias II

What keeps coming up for me when I think about recent news is that we are all victims of confirmation bias (yes, including scientists!). In certain contexts, sexism and racism simply appear reasonable to our susceptible brains. I am grateful for the work of experts who have tried to help everyone learn more about these issues and overcome some of these biases — but I caution that very, very few of us are willing to change our minds in an environment of hostility, including subtle academic mockery. It does not work to force or shame people into accepting ideas like equality and diversity.

It is possible to cultivate authentic empathy with those who disagree with us. For example, under what situations would you be drawn towards the ideas of white supremacy? It is easy to call others “evil” and pretend that you are somehow better-than. It is much more difficult, and much more healing, to look deeper into your own vulnerable, human self.

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