On the dynamics of language and Bias


Bias is a human trait.. The need to find uniqueness and distinction is bred into our genes.. We use the term ‘differentiation’ quite often…
Differentiation combined with opinion is ”Bias” – Opinions are formed based on experience, awareness and knowledge.

Neither education nor faith can erase bias..If you can respond to bias without defense and with a curious nudge of questions targeted at how the underlying opinion was formed , bias may curl into a hibernate sleep. However, Bias never really disappears, it may resurface at any point in time where adequate pieces of the perceptive puzzle come together to form a pattern . In that sense, it is not ‘Bias’ that worries me, it is the taxonomy of differentiation. It is the linguistics of differentiation that drives bias.

There is a difference between bias and being observant of patterns of behaviors in people – Not everyone who says that certain communities behave is certain ways is biased. We created caste, creed, religion and culture – So it is quite likely that patterns of behavior do exist and are influenced by the context; usually something historical, geographical or related to the psycho-social environment.

So, Where does that observation move into ‘bias’ territory ??  When, observations start getting clubbed with a generalized sweep of expectation and become attributive; when we stop observing that a certain community is likely to have lower standards of hygiene and start attributing ‘a poor sense of hygiene’ to every person from that community.  Note here that a certain community having lower standards does not necessarily translate into each individual in that community having a poor sense of hygiene – So we have moved from observation to attribution!!

I often believe that it is essential that schools teach teenagers about the life-skills related to understanding language and how it shapes thinking.. And do that without the moralistic, artistic or idealistic garb that gets usually associated with learning how to use language.

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~ by exploreamaze on December 6, 2010.

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