Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good PeopleBlindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and

My rating: ★★★★☆

Blindspot is an interesting glimpse into an uncomfortable subject. As per the subtitle, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald seek to expose, explore, and explain so-called "hidden biases"; that is, the biases unknowingly harbored by those individuals who consider themselves unprejudiced or even advocate against prejudice in its varied forms.

When many Americans, at least, think of prejudice, they think of the three "big" ones: racial discrimination, misogyny, and homophobia. What people often overlook are the prejudices that get less coverage, so to speak, or are perceived as somehow less harmful or more justified. These would include religious or philosophical discrimination, xenophobia, age discrimination, misandry, transphobia, etcetera.

As Blindspot explains, no matter how hard we try to fight against our culture's stereotypes and prejudices, most of us harbor some level of unintentional, unconscious bias.

Take me for instance. Using the tests supplied in the book, each meant to explore a person's unconscious associations about race and "goodness", race and nationality, gender and career, etcetera, I found that my results on the race/ethnicity test imply that I subconsciously favor Asians and Hispanics to "whites" and Africans/"blacks". The gender and career test implies that, like most Americans, I associate men with science and women with liberal arts. Most distressing to me, however, was that my results seemed to show that I associate "white" with "American" and "Native American" with "foreign".

But, of course, Blindspot doesn't dare leave its readers with merely that. The authors seek to explore and explain these prejudices they've exposed, discussing the discrimination hinted by such widespread unconscious stereotyping and to what extent it is actively or passively harmful. All in all, it's a really fascinating discussion, and it's a great place for anyone interested in reading about discrimination and prejudice to start.

I definitely recommend Blindspot, and I'm looking forward to reading more on the subject.

A copy of this book was provided free via Edelweiss for the purpose of review.

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