Social injustice and bias

Early on in the class, I started out with a perspective that poverty is the center of injustice because it seems to have the most impact. Living in poverty makes every single day a struggle and it can impact anyone.  I was interested to hear opinions on how poverty was by poor choices or out of people’s control and certainly both are true.  I read examples where the choices got someone on a path that ended in poverty, but second chances are limited. Getting out is a lot tougher than getting in. There is privilege in having money, and it goes beyond just being able to meet basic needs.

As I read other material and thought about other injustices, I now am of the opinion that there is no master injustice.  Maybe it’s my personality, but now realizing how bias and stereotyping takes us on a path of not just injustice but poor decision making as leaders because we don’t use people’s skills and ideas effectively. I no longer think I can rank one injustice over another.  We all have bias, and bias by others for and against us as well. To maximize our potential both in business and in our personal lives, we have to come to terms with those biases to reduce their impacts on our decision-making.

So how do you feel about first impressions? Every now and then, I run into people who declare that they are pretty good judges of people- that they can measure someone up pretty quickly. More than ever, this concerns me.  If first impressions are often based on stereotypes, how accurate can they be? We are bound to get it right sometimes, but how likely is it first impressions are based on biases developed by other experiences that don’t give people a fair chance. That’s not to say we shouldn’t protect ourselves using our instincts, but I would say reserving judgment for longer term information is more just.

 

One thought on “Social injustice and bias”

  1. David, I could not agree more. Being a good judge of a person after barely knowing them is like reading the first chapter of a book and writing an entire review of it. Yeah, you might hit some highlights, but you will miss the bigger picture, you won’t get the details, and you definitely will not provide a good review. People who declare they are great judges of character probably do not feel as though they have bias, but clearly we all know how true that is after reading “Overcoming”.

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