There is a subtle, often unconscious filter which hides deep within us. I am not sure if there is a consistent origin. I suspect it is born in our early experiences where the influence of events and words touched us like truth. Once planted, our eyes and mind began to reinforce its home within us. At some point we forgot about it, rarely recognizing how frequently it changed our ways of seeing life around us.
Understanding the existence of unconscious bias takes time and self-reflection. As I continue to discover different forms of bias within me, I still struggle to see where and how it originated. Given it seemingly effortless ability to multiply and morph, I have turned my attention to the role it plays with my decisions and choices.
Life has a way of reminding me that bias, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad. It is simply a preformed judgement which stands up in any giving moment. I may be biased to trust or question, accept or ignore, even life and dislike because of something in the past. One might think bias is uninformed and yet, it is in one’s memories that bias is often nurtured and strengthened.
When bias predisposes one to yes and openness, one is naturally more vulnerable. Equally, when there is a predisposition that negatives will follow, our barriers and defenses are actively on the ready. One leaves the door open while the other ensures it is locked and nailed shut.
As a new day begin, I find myself thinking through my biases. Am I willing to let compassion and empathy temper my rush to judgement? Will I exercise faith in another while guarding my heart?
When bias is informed by repeated experience and is specific to an individual, it forms a bond or barrier to relationship. With barriers, I have stepped away. With bonds, I have stepped into a “God [who] is good to one and all; everything he does is soaked through with grace.” (Psalm 145.9).
Bias is an invitation to reflect, openly see, and choose.