The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.Robertson Davies, Tempest-Tost
Three weeks into my online teaching career as a freelancer, I’m slowly seeing the appeal. The materials students choose can often spark intriguing discussions…
Me: Exercise 5, discussions. Could you read question 1 for us?
She: Are you surprised that 80% of both men and women are biased towards women? *digesting each word*
Me: What do you think? *prompted*
She: Yes, I am. And I don’t really believe it, because I don’t know where this high number came from. The article doesn’t say the source.
Me: You don’t believe it because you think 80% is too high? *curious*
She: Yes, and I don’t think it’s unfair that some high-paying and science-related jobs have more men than women. What about teachers and nurses? They also hire more women. And labour jobs! I only see men on the construction sites. People don’t say that’s unfair, so why only see what they want to see?
Perhaps the wave of gender equality from the West has not reached the East.
Or perhaps, the two hold different perspectives based on cultures, media and beliefs.
Is it true? Do we only absorb what fits with our pre-existing agenda?
My parents know all my friends by name. Each time my best friend fly in from South Korea, my parents would provide the best hospitality they could and take us all to hotel buffets on the last day.
After sending them to the airport, my mom complained that she only caught a few words in English…
She: So what did she say about her future plans? You two talked too fast. *turned her head from the front passenger seat*
Me: Oh, just that she’s thinking to leave her job after getting married or sometime after she is pregnant. She’s always talked about being a full-time housewife when were in school. *shrugged*
She: What? She doesn’t want to work anymore? But her parents sent her to Canada for school and she just wants to be a housewife? *voice raised*
Me: Well, her mom also quit the flight attendant job after the wedding so I’m guessing it may have to do with upbringing?
She: But it’s important to be financially independent as a woman! *passionately*
We each speak from a unique experience, our own experience.
What are biases?
Perhaps every single one of us lives with our own set of biases, and denying them is equivalent to erasing our experience.