Cultural and Unconscious Biases

This post by eevee is specifically talking about video games, but I think a lot of it is a good characterization of discriminating behaviors, why they persist, and what people who don’t get it (saying “other side” feels wrong), don’t get. This part kind of jumped out at me:

There are, of course, also cultural biases that tip the scales towards people who are white or male or cis or whatever. But even if you don’t buy that, it shouldn’t be a stretch to think that there really are overt cartoon sexists out there in the world who are just not vocal about it. Some of them might be judges or managers or politicians. Some of them might even make video games.

You might think of them as weighted coins that always come up heads. And therein lies the problem.

You have 100 coins. You flip all of them. 60 come up heads. How many are weighted?

10, you might think. And you’d be wrong, because 60 heads is entirely possible, so you can’t actually be sure any of them are weighted! But there’s a much bigger problem: which 10?

I pretty much refuse to believe there is any such thing as a “meritocracy”, because even people with good intentions have unconscious biases. Good intentions (we just want to hire the most qualified candidate) aren’t enough to do the right thing. You need to actively and conscientiously work against unconscious feelings that you may have never even been aware exist. It’s really hard and it takes a lot of practice.