Saturday, November 03, 2007

A little experiment

I post on a forum which has an active politics/current events section. I've noticed that many threads have descended into:

"You're biased/a bigot/too blinded by your prejudice to see anything else!"
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are!"
"No I'm not!"
"Yes you are!"
"No I'm not!"

over and over and over -- sometimes for pages -- and end up going nowhere.

I strongly believe that it's a very rare person who has no biases and I doubt most of those post on that board. So I decided to start a thread to see if people would disclose just one of their own biases. Here are the "rules"/clarifications I set up for the thread:

1) this is for disclosing your bias, NOT someone else's.
2) don't pull the old job interview/beauty queen trick of "turning a negative into a positive" ie., don't say "my bias is I can't stand hate." Big deal -- most of us can't stand what we perceive as hate. If you really cannot find any prejudice in you don't post here (or you can post "I'm as pure as driven snow" but I think most of the rest of us will roll our eyes and laugh)
3) let's not attack anyone for his/her confessions here. It's easy to say "you have preconceived ideas about people"; it's a lot harder to look inward and find one's own preconceived notions about others.
4) it can be a bias or prejudice you have nearly quashed or just feel minor twinges. It doesn't have to be foaming at the mouth hatred.
5) you can do some explaining why you think you hold this feeling if you'd like, but don't excuse it

Fourteen people responded. Of those 14, 10 were female. Three were from people I rarely see post in that forum. Four of the responders are among the people I find are generally the most balanced in their posts and the least likely to bait other posters (and one of those disclosed nine biases -- ok...one was against Yankee fans and one was towards Canadian musicians and hockey players and Russian figure skaters...lol).

In a lot of ways though what I found most interesting weren't the people who responded, but the ones who didn't. None of the responses were from the conservative posters. And the liberal posters most likely to bait others and to get into pissing contests (such as the one noted at the beginning of this entry) about other's bigotry didn't respond either.

It turned out to be very much as I expected -- right down to which specific posters responded and which didn't. The people most capable of discussion without personally attacking others were also the ones most willing to disclose at least one of their own flaws. Those on either side of the political/social spectrum with the most dogmatic responses and the most willing to attack (personally) others in discussions were the least likely to disclosed any of their own flaws.

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Now on a different subject entirely -- my Bruiser story ended unhappily, but if you click here you can read a much happier older-seen-better-days stray cat story. I'm sure the time I will cry for Loki will come (it comes for all of us eventually), but now he's living a very happy life. :-)

2 Comments:

Blogger Région Frontière said...

Maybe that's cos the Conservative nuts don't see any biases in themselves, only in others?

9:34 AM  
Blogger veleska1970 said...

hmmm....is this sk's blog you're referring to? hahaha~~seriously, that is usually the way it is, unfortunately. those that are so steadfast in their opinions and are so busy telling everyone else they are wrong are least likely to admit that they just might be wrong, too.

3:27 PM  

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