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IDIC: Bias vs. Prejudice

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Everyone views the world differently, and this is part of what makes people unique. There are many ways to look at this that make it beautiful. However, bias and prejudice are also a few of the negative sides.

Bias has two distinct meanings. The first is akin to believing a generalization about a group, typically a negative one. The second refers to a distortion of statistics in a way that does not reflect the standard deviation.

Prejudice, on the other hand, tends to be more entrenched. A prejudice is an opinion on an entire group, typically based on few, insufficient, or plain incorrect facts. Prejudice can be positive or negative, though the typical connotation is negative.

Prejudice and bias are both based on generalizations made with skewed facts. Unfortunately, that’s part of what can make them difficult to recognize and address. This can be difficult when we are self-assessing.

Self-assessment is usually the first step in addressing our own prejudices and biases. We have to recognize that they might exist in our minds before we know to look for information that contradicts them.

The internet is both a blessing and a curse in these cases. Algorithms often lock us into an echo chamber that reinforces our prejudices and biases. However, all the information to contradict our prejudices and biases is also online.

The first step is recognizing we need to look for more information, more facts. The second is doing the work to examine what we believe through new lenses. This step is often more work than people think it is.

The third step is to implement change. Unfortunately, bias and prejudice are insidious and can seep out in the least expected ways. Without constant awareness, returning to the previous thought pattern is easy.

We can create change, especially when change starts within, as we reach for the future.

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