Roots and Causes of Prejudice
Bias & Prejudice – Explanation of Cause
The bottom of this illustration shows many of the most important “roots” with which we were born. As you can see, “bias” is one of them. In her book, “Biased”, Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD, describes implicit bias as “a kind of distorting lens that’s a product of both the architecture of our brain and the disparities in our society”. Said another way, bias is part of our intellect that allows us to put the information we receive into folders. So, as young children, depending on the emotions we are attaching to this information, we are forming likes, dislikes, and neutral attitudes toward this information.
However, as children reach the “age of reason,” they begin to have the ability and opportunity to cultivate the information they have been categorizing. This learning process or lack of learning is heavily influenced by the people represented in the “trunk” of the tree. It is in these early years when the greatest opportunities to expand and refine our likes and dislikes present themselves.
As a result, as we become adults, we enter our various societies, “the branches,” with most of the bias and prejudice we developed throughout our early years.