Implicit Bias: The New ‘Original Sin’


Progressives are seething because Republicans are committing blasphemy.

In his vice-presidential debate, Governor Mike Pence took a swing at one of the Left’s most cherished beliefs: “implicit bias.”

The police officers who support Donald Trump, he said,  “hear the bad mouthing, the bad mouthing that comes from people that seize upon tragedy in the wake of police action shootings as a reason to use a broad brush to accuse law enforcement of implicit bias or institutional racism.” Hillary Clinton sees “implicit bias” not just in the police force, but in “everyone in the United States,” Pence declared.

Liberals cannot brook criticism of their precious “implicit bias” theory, which is a new rationalization for totalitarian power, for rule by the progressive Elect whose Ivy League training has equipped them to sniff out the witch of hidden racism.

At SlateWilliam Saletan tried patronizing Pence with a “Dear white people, we need to have a talk” article, urging people of pallor to just relax and accept that they suffer from a psychic disease Doctor Government can treat, but never truly cure:

Every day, in one city or another, black and brown parents sit their kids down and talk to them about bias. They explain that at some point, based on the color of your skin, you might be suspected of doing something wrong. Don’t go to certain places, don’t wear certain clothes, and don’t move in any way that might be construed as a threat. Play it safe.

White people don’t have to talk to our kids this way, because our color doesn’t attract suspicion. We need to have a different talk, not about suffering implicit bias but about practicing it.

Here’s the first ground rule: “Implicit bias” isn’t an accusation. It doesn’t mean you’re bad. It means you’re normal. Animals prejudge one another based on appearance. Human beings are naturally tribal. So implicit bias, as a disposition, isn’t something you learn. It’s something you learn to overcome.

Here’s the second rule: When somebody brings up implicit bias, don’t freak out. Don’t get defensive and shut down the discussion.

To his credit, Saletan chastises liberals, and even Hillary Clinton in particular, for throwing around baseless accusations of racism, alienating large numbers of people by calling them “irredeemable” occupants of a “basket of deplorables.”

But then he explains that implicit bias is the kinder, gentler version of the systemic-racism argument, and we’re not supposed to question it, because we are absolved of conscious guilt. We don’t even realize how biased we are – it’s something only the credentialed elites of the Ruling Class can perceive with clarity:

But “implicit bias” is the opposite of “deplorable.” The whole point of the theory of implicit bias—the reason why it can fairly be attributed to everyone—is that it’s not an accusation of guilt or bigotry. It’s an acknowledgment of the human condition.

There’s way too much research on implicit bias to deny its existence. And there are way too many cases that illustrate it. In Tuesday’s debate, moderator Elaine Quijano mentioned Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican who, as an elected official earlier in his career, “was stopped seven times by law enforcement in one year.” Other well-known figures, from former Attorney General Eric Holder to broadcaster Don Lemon to professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., have reported similar experiences. And then there are the men whose final moments many of us have witnessed, in all their horror, thanks to mobile phone videos. You can’t watch the deaths of Terence Crutcher, Eric Garner, and Philando Castile without being shaken. In most cases, what you see in the video, or in direct testimony after the tragedy, is the officer’s fear.

… The Implicit Association Test—which you can take on the Project Implicit website—“shows biases that are not endorsed and that may even be contradictory to what one consciously believes.” For instance, “you may believe that women and men should be equally associated with science, but your automatic associations could show that you (like many others) associate men with science more than you associate women with science.” Does that make you a bad person? No. Does it affect your behavior? Probably. Should you own up to your bias and try to overcome it? Absolutely.

This is essentially a religious command to confess your Original Sin in exchange for some small voice in negotiating your punishment. The difference is that Christian religion views atonement and penance as individual affairs. But the progressives’ Church of the State wants to stuff entire populations into its confessional at once, and then padlock the doors.

Saletan is right about implicit bias theories being more “useful” than old-school rants about universal broad-brush racism – as in, more politically useful to statists. It’s easier for the masses to swallow, because it absolves them of conscious guilt, replacing it with subliminal guilt.

Also, Saletan says white people don’t have to teach their children to worry about being the victims of implicit bias, because their “color doesn’t attract suspicion.” That’s not true at all. It’s not difficult to find neighborhoods or universities where white skin color does generate a damaging response. 

Part of the problem with this “implicit bias” theory is that it’s so unwilling to come to terms with the idea that everyone makes judgments. In fact, that’s the essence of being human — the ability to understand data, share experiences, calculate probability and respond rationally to best protect themselves and their loved ones. 

Whether trying to avoid crime, to enjoy romance or to profit from gambling, to succeed in work or to avoid car-crashes, humans must make quick judgements based on limited information, and they do it by learning from books and experience. They can’t approach each new problem as if they are a blank-sheet baby free off any bias or preferences — or else they’ll be mugged, dumped, broke, unemployed and car-less in very short order. 

Liberals are trying to clutter up that reality by inventing ever more esoteric justifications for giving themselves more power over everyone’s lives.

We’ll doubtless be arguing about police bias and profiling for many years to come, but on this topic, the hard truth is that some portion of that “implicit bias” is logical. The Left is driving our society insane by forcing it to ignore blatant realities of urban crime known by every rookie cop.

Likewise, whatever “implicit bias” association of men with science that might be ferreted from the public mind is probably connected to the higher number of male scientists – especially male scientists the layman has heard of, which is a rather small group, and its maleness partly is a function of unchangeable history. Despite fervent political assertions to the contrary, there is little reason to believe the continuing prevalence of men in various scientific fields is the result of a nefarious misogynistic conspiracy to keep lady doctors down.

It is wise to become nervous when politicians begin touting vague psych research — instead of replicable research or cold, hard numbers — to justify their agendas. Every flavor of statism has taken a stab at classifying resistance to its demands as insanity. In the less brutish incarnations of statism, this is done for the precise reason implicit bias advocates so eagerly state: to relieve the masses of individual, conscious responsibility for their fatal flaws. You’re not evil, you’re sick, they tell us. Sickness can be treated.

Statists understand that average people view government’s destructive powers as a force that should be deployed primarily against criminals… so they teach everyone to think of themselves as criminals. We all deserve to be punished for our social-justice transgressions, fined heavily for unfairly benefiting from implicitly biased society, and controlled lest we prey upon one another.

Conservatives learn from history, and so they trust people enough to delegate power and autonomy to individuals of every background. Criminal law is reserved for actions, while thoughts remain private beyond the reach of legislators, cops or priests. Hope for absolute justice is reserved for dreamers and scribblers and is postponed into the afterlife. The past is kept in the past, so people look forward, instead of perpetually fighting over the sins or sufferings of their great-great-grandparents. 

But statism uses coercive force to impose collective “justice” in this fallen world, which requires unjust treatment of today’s people for yesterday’s sins, so the Elect can build a heaven on Earth by tomorrow.

“Innocent until proven guilty” is the self-restraint of leaders willing to delegate power, while “guilty until proven innocent” is the justification and tool of impatient utopians, whether they be progressives, socialists or the Taliban. 

We don’t need our inept, greedy Ruling Class fooling around with any more victimhood theories, pushing beyond “guilty until proven innocent” to a new vision of “guilty even though you are innocent.”  Watching progressives try to open this Pandora’s Box of ego and cruelty is like watching clowns juggle dynamite in a crowded school.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.