Dr Jennifer L Eberhardt is a Social Psychologist who is currently a professor in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the RSA in central London last year when her book Bias was released.
My undergraduate degree was in Physics and part of the way I acquire knowledge ( my epistemology) is firmly rooted in science. My brain often looks for links and relationships to do this. I seek experiments, data, research. Unfortunately, the social sciences don’t work like that.
Biased incorporates the brain scans, IAT test and other test data while simultaneously using narrative from people’s stories, including Dr Eberhardt’s own. The book is a straightforward read; it takes complicated concepts and presents them in an accessible manner.
The premise of the book is that overtly racist biases are not of the most significant concern. Yes, white supremacist exists (it’s covered in the book), but this work is centred around the implicit biased which colour all of our actions.
Bias is a habit of the mind it is designed to make life more efficient; these are inherent in our very being. She describes a story where her husband is driving a car in Europe checks the left (they drive on the right in the US) and goes to pull out of an intersection, knowing very well that in Europe cars drive on the left but his years of driving tells him to check left and drive… Yes, everyone survives, that’s not a spoiler, after all, she wrote the book.
This book also covers the bias impacting on perception, police and the solutions to their issues around race, education and a plethora of other topics.
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The book is available here.