Neil Tambe

Husband, Father, Citizen, Professional.

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.


I believe that I have run across a dilemma.  For some reason, lying here in my bed I have begun to think about biases.
Take for example the facetious bias of “White men can’t jump”, just for examples sake…it’s the title of a movie and a pretty laughable well know ‘bias’ that seems to occur at random, in gymnasiums everywhere I go.

Let’s obviously assume that I actually believe this.

Now, where did I get this bias?  Where did it come from?  How did I come to have it?  One apparent way that this happened is because someone gave it to me.  So, under what conditions must I have received this bias?
Some must have passed it along to me.  I must trust this person, or at least hold them as a source of some merit; otherwise I would have no motivation to take seriously what they say.  Or, perhaps I would have a notion of it already.  Or, I have heard this information from many unreliable sources, and form the group opinion to my own.  In any case, this is all a result from receiving this bias from other people.  This is not what I’m after.  I’m curious about how biases arrive in the first place.
So, how is that an individual would go about arriving at a bias on his own?  So, maybe he has a lack of information.  But, any person in their right mind would know that it’s possible to have all information and knows better than to make a judgment based on misinformation.  So, if this avenue was the cause, it would be because of the viewer being unable to reconcile what they see and how the world could be.  So, this is human error.
What would also be attributed to human error is a bias arrived because of someone misrepresenting themselves.  A misrepresentation in a way also leads to a misinterpretation.  Say someone gave a bad first impression and then acted like themselves, then the person viewing them would be confused and perhaps form a bias about that person based on the first experience.  All in all, it seems legitimate to call a self misrepresentation ‘human error’, it just happens sooner in the chain.
But, how much bias could this human error cause?  Think of white supremacy, is this because white people accidentally came to believe that non-white races were inferior?  Did that nazi’s mistakenly come across the notion that jews and gypsies were deserving to die?  Perhaps I should rephrase my original thought, I’m not questioning biases on the whole, I’m talking more about stereotypes.  I don’t really mean bias in the sense of a conflict of interest.
So, if it wasn’t human error what was it?  Did some humans conspire at some time in their life to perpetuate sterotypes?  Why would they consciously do it?  Unfortunately, it does not appear that there is some other way that stereotypes begin…someone wants them to.
This is quite disheartening to conclude since this would mean there are truly evil, or power hungry people around.
Note, that it is not acceptable to say that people hold different beliefs, and that’s why they begin to stereotype and hold biases.  Thinking this would require their biases to exist in the first place, because nobody would hold irrational views for no reason.  Basically, I’m saying that biases plant the seed for having different beliefs, instead of vice versa.  Granted, my point is thrown out the window, if people fundamentally process information differently.

So, that leads me to two useless places.

  1. People may stereotype, because they want to, or have some benefit if they do.  Maybe it keeps the population in line.  Maybe it led them to great wealth.  Maybe they just needed slaves to they bullshitted their way into convincing themselves that one race was inferior to another.

  2. People fundamentally process things differently  Then fundamentally different and conflicting opinions might happen and cause people to have conflict over interpretations of the world…leading to ‘human error’ in processing these interpretations?

Gosh, which one could it bed?  Maybe bother?  Am I underestimating human error?  Wow, it’s a lot to think about.