equity, science, social justice, thesis excerpt

Bias; in life and in science

Yes. I have bias. I have many many biases, but if you think for one second that any of them are unchecked, unresearched, left unpacked, unevaluated, or unexamined in every way possible and at great length and personal difficulty? You would be very very wrong.

I have a wealth of biases, but I am aware of each and every one. And they were formed through a lifetime of experiences, an enormous amount of personal reflection, and tremendous learning. They are not unconscious. They are informed. And they make me powerful.

Bias is not some word we should fear. Something we should hide from. Something we should avoid or deny. It is however, something we need to deconstruct. Something to hold up in the light allowing us to see it well from all sides, removing shadow.

I have biases, built from a lifetime of experience, research, passion, drives, and a firm belief that we can do better. This is not a detriment to my work, it informs it. It propels me forward. It helps me see where I need to learn more, where I should focus harder, and where I need to continue to push.

The world we live in doesn’t like to hear from Women with no respect for the status quo or the boundaries it would insist we abide. In this? My neurodivergence, my innate systems thinking, my ability to see connection and pattern where others flounder, these are my strengths and these are the things I have come to celebrate. These are the things from within which my biases were born. And I am grateful for them all.

Bias has come to be a dirty word in science, in reporting, and in life… but it shouldn’t be. Bias only becomes negative when it is left unexamined and unchecked. Unconscious bias is awful, it can ruin lives, careers, and promising scientific work. But biases which are birthed of research, experience, and an unpacking of culturally indoctrinated ideas? Those can inform and help us find better ways forward. Ways which deny the arbitrary systems of authority and instead invest in inclusion and a welcoming of “other”.

Bias isn’t to be feared, it is to be acknowledged, understood, and ultimately embraced. We are human peoples, bias is part and parcel of that beautifully flawed package.

Meme featuring an image from The Matrix which states: What if I told you all science is produced by scientists. All scientists are human. All humans are susceptible to bias. Ergo, all science is susceptible to bias.

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