Reddit Reddit reviews Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

We found 2 Reddit comments about Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People
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2 Reddit comments about Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People:

u/Salanmander · 4 pointsr/changemyview

I'm pretty convinced that it is actually the norm. Have you seen the research into implicit bias done by a Harvard research group? Basically, it revolves around a series of tests that ask people to sort four types of things into two categories. You take two types of things with a known association (like positive adjectives and negative adjectives), and two types of things that you want to see if someone has a similar subconscious association (like black people and white people). Then you ask them to sort black people/positive adjectives into one group and white people/negative adjectives into the other group as quickly as possible. And then you switch it. If there is a speed difference between the two tests, it can reveal an implicit association. It turns out the vast majority of people have implicit associations that run counter to their consciously held beliefs.

Of course, the question that comes up immediately is whether these implicit associations affect people's actions towards each other. And there's some correlative evidence that it does. For example, doctors that showed a stronger preference for white people over black people on the implicit association test also had a bigger difference between the rate at which they gave suboptimal treatment to white people vs. black people (unintentionally; I'm not ascribing malice to them).^1

An example that doesn't have data from those tests specifically, but shows a similar sort of unconscious effect on people's actions, is auditions in top-tier orchestras. In 1970, 6% of musician's in the five best orchestras in the US were female. Then blind auditions were adopted, where the person listening to the audition couldn't see the musician. The rate of hiring of female musicians increased dramatically, and in 1993, 21% of musicians in those orchestras were female. (Study link)

The most interesting part about that to me is that the very people who were making those decisions were surprised by the results. They had figured that the difference was due to basically the same arguments you're using: different preferences among the genders for what sort of jobs to pursue.^1 And yet, when they took an action that eliminated any possibility of their gender bias affecting their rating of the performance, they found that the rate at which they hired female performers went up significantly.

This implies to me that, while we're probably getting better, there's no reason to believe that those sorts of subconscious biases have gone away in hiring (and voting, and all the other little decisions that go into giving people opportunities).

Right now I'm not trying to argue that harmful bias faced by women is definitely larger than the harmful bias faced by men. All I'm trying to argue is that bias can be very hard to detect and measure, and that you should be less certain than you are about the extent that it affects people.

(^1 These things totally deserve citations, but I got the information from the book Blind Spot, which I don't have in front of me right now, and so I can't give more detailed information about them.)

u/boysabr3 · 0 pointsr/singapore

Sure, here is how a company / university / school / nation can be more diverse and more meritocratic:

  • Recognise unconscious biases that you have against under-represented and make sure they don't play a role in performance reviews, results, promotions, etc. This way, meritocracy will work properly as people will get the results they deserve. It has been shown time and time again that under-represented groups perform worse even when they're equally capable.
  • Understand that that underrepresented groups may have problems at home (lack of money, abuse, etc) that affect their performance. If a teacher / manager is trained to recognise this and has resources available to act on it, they can help equalise the troubles an individual from an under-represented group might be facing.
  • Spend more time looking for people from under-represented groups. They often don't have the channels to apply / reach out or the coaching along the lines of what to say and how to say it in an interview to make it to the level where they are accessed for their competence. E.g. a rich ang moh dad will teach his child how to make a killer resume and connect the child to his business colleagues, a poor Malay dad might not be able to. You need to provide more support to the malay kid. You cannot just say "too bad lor... Singapore is meritocratic. You figure out your resume yourself. You don't know how to make resume then you cannot join our uni. Singapore will provide equal training to Chinese and Malay. After that it's up to you."

    You know what is not on this list (which is what you seem to believe diversity is about):

  • Filling up quotas with incompetent members of the under-represented groups. That is stupid. No successful company with a serious diversity program does that. No good HR department debates over it. This is not the 90s wall street.

    And you sound like a logical guy. Here is some logic to prove that this is not a zero-sum game:

  • 1 position available in NUS Med School program. 2 candidates:
  • Malay kid with meritocracy heuristic score "A"
  • Chinese kid with meritocracy heuristic score "A"
  • Hire Malay kid.
  • Did meritocracy drop? Nope.
  • Did diversity go up? Yes.
  • Is this a zero-sum game? Nope.
  • Is it unfair? Yes, to the Chinese kid it is. But it is not a zero-sum game.

    Btw, I'm not making this shit up. This is implemented in companies (the new age financial industry is actually pretty good at diversity—better than the tech companies that are slowly getting there). And this actually works.

    If you are actually interested in learning more instead of shitting on diversity + equating it to racism/poor-quota-policies, you may check out: There is no point in me regurgitating stuff that is readily available.