The topic of bias has been scattered all over the news this week with Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearing.
As I've worked with college students, this question of bias comes up from time to time.
One vivid memory I have was sitting with Abby Dean (back when she went by Abby instead of Abigail) in the Daily Grind (back when it went by Daily Grind instead of Java 23) and talking about a class she was taking. The professor had raised the question of bias. Can we trust the accuracy of the Gospel writings if the writers held a pretty intense bias?
These writers were really biased. I mean, really, really biased. They believed Jesus was the Christ (not Caesar), the Son of God, Messiah, the One in whom there is life. That's bias.
Their lives, their perspectives, their judgements were colored deeply by their experiences. They had seen and heard about Jesus. Their lives had been transformed by him. They came to the writers table with their minds already made up.
So, is bias a bad thing? Are there different types of bias? Can one truly be unbiased, uninfluenced by life experience? Are claims to be unbiased merely revealing an ignorance of the impact that one's experiences have had on one's judgement? Can that ignorance lead one to judge unjustly?
If that's the case (and here's something controversial), then a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences (and awareness of how that experience influences bias) would more often than not reach a better conclusion than pretty much anyone who believed they could approach an issue without bias.
***And, for the record, that's not a direct comment on the politics going on this week...both sides have claimed to be unbiased and so, both sides have been full of it at one point or another (as we all are from time to time)***