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Natural To Be Biased?


Glenn101

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I'm not sure that this is the correct forum for this. It is not really a LDS focussed topic, but it does have to do with LDS (and everyone else).

My question: Is being biased a part of the "natural man" that is an enemy to God and something that we must overcome?

The reason that I ask this is because of my almost six year old granddaighter. She went to Pre-K this past school year and had two wonderful black teachers. She really seemed to like them. However, when looking forward to her actual Kindergarten experience, she voiced the opinion that she wanted her teacher to be white and not brown. She was not disappointed in this because her new teacher is white, and she told her father so when we returned from the orientation night at the school.

Jessi has been with us since whe was two years old. My wife and I have become the primary care givers by default.

I was raised in a very biased environment and it took years fro me to understand just how biased I was and how wrong it is. It took a long time for me to get to the point where I can honestly say that I am not prejudiced, although there might be some residual bias. But I have been careful not to pass that bias on to my children. I think that I have done a pretty good job on that score.

Yet, now I have this sweet (and saucy) young lady that has been raised in my home mostly by my wife and I, express a decided bias for white teachers. Did she get it from me in spite of all my good intentions, or from playmates at school, or is it just a natural "birds of a feather" type of thing?

Thanks,

Glenn

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My grandaughter when she was two was thrown by anyone that didn't look like those around her all the time. She was very uncomfortable around her new uncle who happened to be black. She was also as uncomfortable around her granddad when he shaved off his beard, refused to come to him for several days.

It wasn't about being racist, it was about familiar things creating a comfort zone for her. They got her a darker skinned doll, had her play more with one of her favourite cousins who is darker skinned being adopted, made a point of point out how different everyone is in some way and she's gotten willing to push her comfort zone out some.

However at 6 years of age, if she wasn't showing it before, it might be something picked up from playmates. Have you talked to her about it?

Edited by calmoriah
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I was going to say the same thing that Cal did.

I would be surprised if your granddaughter was expressing any racism. It sounds like she was expressing the comfort she feels when surrounded by people who are familiar (ie. they look like her and her family).

In that regard, i think it is very natural to be biased towards what we are most used to. Most scientific studies that i've read (which admittedly aren't a lot) on the topic have shown that people find themselves attractive because they are so used to their own reflection, and that this is why they often find people most attractive who share similar features with them.

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However at 6 years of age, if she wasn't showing it before, it might be something picked up from playmates. Have you talked to her about it?

We haven't talked to her about it yet. I am not exactly sure how to go about it. All of her playmates at the school were white or Mexican. I thnok that I am going to wait a couple of weeks and then talk to her about comparing the previous class to her current class just to get her comments. I will not ask for teacher comparisons.

Thanks,

Glenn

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I'm not sure that this is the correct forum for this. It is not really a LDS focussed topic, but it does have to do with LDS (and everyone else).

My question: Is being biased a part of the "natural man" that is an enemy to God and something that we must overcome?

The reason that I ask this is because of my almost six year old granddaighter. She went to Pre-K this past school year and had two wonderful black teachers. She really seemed to like them. However, when looking forward to her actual Kindergarten experience, she voiced the opinion that she wanted her teacher to be white and not brown. She was not disappointed in this because her new teacher is white, and she told her father so when we returned from the orientation night at the school.

Jessi has been with us since whe was two years old. My wife and I have become the primary care givers by default.

I was raised in a very biased environment and it took years fro me to understand just how biased I was and how wrong it is. It took a long time for me to get to the point where I can honestly say that I am not prejudiced, although there might be some residual bias. But I have been careful not to pass that bias on to my children. I think that I have done a pretty good job on that score.

Yet, now I have this sweet (and saucy) young lady that has been raised in my home mostly by my wife and I, express a decided bias for white teachers. Did she get it from me in spite of all my good intentions, or from playmates at school, or is it just a natural "birds of a feather" type of thing?

Thanks,

Glenn

It is a result of our egocentric view of things. Whether or not that is part of being the natural man I wouldn't know. I think that if we don't have some kind of conviction of ourselves we are at a competitive disadvantage with those around us. The parable of the talent and the one who hid his talent comes to my mind.

I suspect your grand daughters bias may be only that she is more comfortable with someone more like her. I wouldn't say that she has any unhealthy motives for such a bias. It is alright to be biased as we all have biases about a lot of things. It is only when they become destructive to ourselves and others that they become a problem. Your grand daughter may not be as adventuresome as you though or hoped.

Edited by ERayR
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We haven't talked to her about it yet. I am not exactly sure how to go about it. All of her playmates at the school were white or Mexican. I thnok that I am going to wait a couple of weeks and then talk to her about comparing the previous class to her current class just to get her comments. I will not ask for teacher comparisons.

Thanks,

Glenn

You might ask her what she likes most and likes least about her old and new teachers and if colour doesn't come up and if you don't see her having any problem mixing with her nonwhite schoolmates, then I wouldn't worry about it.

Are you careful about what she watches on TV?

Edited by calmoriah
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You might ask her what she likes most and likes least about her old and new teachers and if colour doesn't come up and if you don't see her having any problem mixing with her nonwhite schoolmates, then I wouldn't worry about it.

Are you careful about what she watches on TV?

Thanks for the advice.

And, yes, we are careful what she watches on T.V. Mostly Nickelodeon. Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob Squarepants, and Little Bill are her favorites. She also watches some of the shows my wife and I watch. She likes Wagon Train because of the "short man with the beard" because he's funny.

Glenn

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My basic reaction is, who knows what a little kid is thinking? I am fish-belly white, but when I was little my favorite doll was black. Why? Because I was absolutely fixated on having a doll whose eyes were brown like mine, and that's what my mother could find.

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I am sorry if that "careful about what she watches" came across rather harshly. What I meant was if there was a chance she might be seeing TV someplace else that you were not able to exercise the kind of control you would like to...as in when she goes to friends' houses or if she is babysat by someone else.

You don't need to respond, i just wanted to clear up what I meant because it came out not the way I wanted.

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