Unconscious bias is topic June 19 - Olin BlogOlin Blog

Source: Howard Bland

One big way in which the left has abused social science is the psycho-sociological theory of “Unconscious” or “Implicit Bias.” Originally defined by psychologists Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald in 1995, it is one of the more persistently pillaged theories in today’s civil rights debate. Prince Harry, his former-Royal Highness, recently reminded everyone that he is not an expert in much of anything since he left the Army. In an interview for Vogue, here’s what Meghan’s hubby had to educate the masses with:

“… If you go up to someone and say, “What you’ve just said, or the way that you’ve behaved, is racist” – they’ll turn around and say, “I’m not a racist.” “I’m not saying that you’re a racist, I’m just saying that your unconscious bias is proving that, because of the way that you’ve been brought up, the environment you’ve been brought up in, suggests that you have this point of view – unconscious point of view – where naturally you will look at someone in a different way.”

Is Harry himself even aware of his meaning? Let’s put all personal prejudices, political or otherwise, aside for one moment and just look at his statement again, though this time in an abridged format:

“What you’ve just said, or the way that you’ve behaved, is racist… I’m not saying that you’re a racist… I’m just saying… your unconscious bias is proving that… you have this point of view.”

Let’s edit one step further (punctuation my own):

“I’m not saying you’re a racist, I’m just saying you have this point of view.”

Finally, let’s paraphrase one element of this sentence:

“I’m not saying you’re a racist, I’m just saying you have the point of view of one.”

If you believe as I do that there is no other way of interpreting old Hal’s meaning here, then it doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on (it doesn’t even matter if you’re politically minded) in order to notice how utterly schizophrenic in nature his words are.

Who is responsible for promoting such a confusing conception of how people’s minds work? Surely this is all a misunderstanding over what the scientists actually say. After all, scientists have a track record of being as apolitically objective about the existing data as can be, written apologies for decades worth of scare-mongering on the basis of incomplete data notwithstanding.

Take for instance Jennifer Eberhardt, a psychology professor at Stanford University, who once took 10 black and 10 white students and put them in an MRI machine while showing them photographs of white and black faces. The rest of her experiments, or lack thereof, don’t encourage any greater level of confidence in their methodology or scope. For the most part, the good professor and her team spend their research grants merely making subjective deductions from statistical variants recorded by other bodies. Watch her book summary on YouTube for the general gist of her scientific contributions. Pay attention to the same schizophrenia in her words which we saw in Harry’s earlier. Within moments of admitting the phenomenon of unconscious belief doesn’t in itself imply unconscious racism, she immediately circles the block and says it does. Not through a scrupulous examination of the data, mind you, but via a mode of argument far more compelling than boring old evidence:

“Here’s where I would normally break out the graphs and slides,” she coos, “But instead I’m going to tell you a personal story…”

In spite of this shameful propaganda-disguised-as-science, Eberhardt remains widely-acclaimed and in-demand. In a 2019 appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Eberhardt explained the well-documented “other-race effect,” wherein people generally find it easier to distinguish between the faces of the race they grew up with. An unexciting though important neurological phenomenon most people wouldn’t piddle over the sociology of; for there is no damning evidence to suggest this is not a simple question of sensory habituation to real-world factors rather than outright irrational prejudice. Though that’s not to suggest sensory habituation or rational discrimination should not be corrected for in service of Lady Justice (which it often is to an almost anally retentive extent.) According to Patricia Devine, who runs a lab studying prejudice at the University of Wisconsin:

“The reality is this multimillion, maybe billion dollar industry has gotten way far ahead of the evidence. There’s sort of a lot of intuition and wishful thinking that goes on.”

All that aside, and according to Trevor Noah, the fact people aren’t imprinted at birth with the ability to intra-racially distinguish between all the faces of all the races equally – something that could only possibly come from environmental learning –  is: “one of the most horrible, fantastic stories ever!” – But most serious psychologists, the silent majority if you will, wouldn’t find something so negligible as the “other-race effect,” sufficient to warrant the mortified reactions and stunned audience breath-holding that has become indicative of the post-Woke American Late-Night Talk show.

In her review of Banaji’s and Greenwald’s original study, published only a fortnight ago, Child Psychologist and author, Kendra Cherry, explained:

“It is important to understand that implicit bias is not the same thing as racism… (it) does not mean that you are necessarily prejudiced or inclined to discriminate against other people. It simply means that your brain is working in a way that makes associations and generalizations.”

American Conservative and intellectual titan Thomas Sowell, in his famous 1995 socio-political treatise The Vision of the Anointed, wrote these simple words:

“Extrapolations are the last refuge of a groundless argument.”