What’s the Reason behind our Biases and Stereotypes?
Sometimes, we don’t really think a lot about what we may be biased towards, but I believe to some point, everyone has biases, because we’ve probably all had some kind of negative experience leading to that.
(A stereotypical view of people’s stereotypes)
Example of my biases:
- Someone with a certain surname or name will make me cringe, because I associate it with nasty people with the same name.
- I will like an actor/voice actor more because of their character (vice versa for opposite roles).
- I may feel resentment towards a certain country because my family seem to “hate it”, for whatever they did in the past, such as wars.
- If someone (looks, facial expressions) reminds me of a really nasty that I intensely feared or disliked, I would probably not like that person very much.
I feel that we need to understand where our biases come from, it’s self protection.
Biases can lead to something much bigger.
I believe everything begins with biases, but it can lead up to a lot more serious and intense emotions, and perhaps that’s where stereotypes and racism are stemmed from, where negative emotions are directed towards a certain group, such as certain types of people, things, countries, gender or name without even realising.
It’s very logical to understand why if we had one bad experience with something, we’re likely to think everything is the same. Fear and resentment was created to help us survive, so it makes sense why we’d feel this way.
Just like all our emotions, biases are directly related to the mind’s way of protecting yourself. If you’ve associated yourself with one bad or good experience, your mind will likely to either pull you towards or away. If you know someone called Chris, who stole all your money, then you probably will not like the name very much. Just like, if we went to another country and experienced something really horrible (people treated us badly), we may assume everyone is evil.
This is all a part of your self protective mechanisms. Just like all our emotions are there to guide us into living better, this is the same.
The best way to get rid of Biases
Sometimes, the best way to get rid of a bias is to experience something different. For example, if you met one Chris that tried to fork all your money and scam you, and you met another who is a very nice, kind person, you probably won’t get that nasty feeling when it comes to the name.
Same as if you experienced some rude people from a country, it’s important to experience more so you know that not everyone from a single country is evil.
Another example is, if you feel dislike towards an actor because they played an evil role which you hated with all your heart and you simply can’t get around to liking the actor, you may need to watch more of what they did, and watch them play a good character. That has worked for me so many times!
It may be hard to force ourselves to get into a situation like that, but I feel that is one of the best ways to truly get rid of a bias, because in a way, you are proving to your mind, that this is not the case!
The important thing is to realise our biases
I feel that when we realise that we’re biased, and how biases can be unfair because we’re obviously judging before we know the entire thing. If we realise it, we can at least control the way we react. Because like all emotions, it’s totally fine to feel a certain way, such as jealousy, anger, etc. But expressing it is another story.
Just because we’re biased towards a person or country, should we treat them badly? I don’t believe so, because that would be unfair.