Part of Lesson Plan: Personal and Media Bias
Activity Overview / Details
Ask: What is a bias?
Some answers may be:
- a preference
- a way of seeing something
- a belief
This is how the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines bias:
BENT , TENDENCY b : an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment: PREJUDICE c :an instance of such prejudice d (1): deviation of the expected value of a statistical estimate from the quantity it estimates (2): systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others.
Bias is also defined as: "a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation."
Exhibiting bias: biased, one-sided, partisan, prejudiced, prejudicial, prepossessed, tendentious. See LIKE, STRAIGHT. 2. Disposed to favor one over another: favorable, preferential.
Watch the TED video:
Weird, or Just Different (below)
Also at: http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_weird_or_just_different.html
Ask: What are some biases you may have that you might not be aware of?
Explain: Hidden Bias Tests measure unconscious, or automatic, biases. Your willingness to examine your own possible biases is an important step in understanding the roots of stereotypes and prejudice in our society.
The ability to distinguish friend from foe helped early humans survive, and the ability to quickly and automatically categorize people is a fundamental quality of the human mind. Categories give order to life, and every day, we group other people into categories based on social and other characteristics.
This is the foundation of stereotypes, prejudice and, ultimately, discrimination.
for more reading on this.
Have students go to:
and take IATs (Implicit Association Test) for Age, Gender, or Weight.
Have them print out a copy of their results (no names on the print out so that their results are anonymous).
Discuss as a class the common biases, the ones that are not common, and any perspectives that are underrepresented.