Posted tagged ‘bias’

Battle scars

5 February 2018

There’s an ugly trend on Australian television that’s been going on for quite a while. I hoped it would fade away but it only seems to be getting worse.

I’m referring to the ever-increasing number of commercials that depict males as incompetent fools who are put straight by their female companions.

Maybe it’s been happening in your country too.

Like the proverbial boiling frog, most of us have probably been oblivious to it. But, just as when you want to buy a particular make of car you suddenly spot them everywhere, when you are aware of this trend you can’t un-see it.

Man making loser sign on his own head.

I’ve never understood the battle of the sexes. Bias against women affects men’s partners, mothers, sisters and daughters. Bias against men affects women’s partners, fathers, brothers and sons. Everyone loses.

So I caution against promoting one demographic at the expense of another. Propping someone up by pulling someone else down is a zero-sum game.

In other words, we can’t fight an “ism” – be it sexism, racism, or something else – with yet more ism. Instead of resolving the problem, it perpetuates it.

We need to call out prejudice against women and men. Otherwise I fear a downward spiral for the latter, which will inevitably scar us all.

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Selective tolerance

22 December 2010

As we near another Christmas, I thought this cartoon was timely.

I am tolerant of all creeds and cultures except yours.

Facts are a bitch

28 October 2010

CameraThis morning I posted the following question to Twitter:

What do you think of Parrashoot as the name of a local photography competition in Parramatta?

The word play is genius, no?

Now, for those of you who don’t know, Parramatta is the cosmopolitan sister city of Sydney, approximately 23 kilometres (14 miles) west of the Harbour Bridge.

Due to its geographical location and its colourful history, it is often put down by yuppies and wanna-be’s, and is typically lumped into the broad, vague and lazy category “Sydney’s West” which features prominently on the nightly news.

While this view of my local area is about 25 years out of date (and perhaps a little racist?) it doesn’t seem to affect its prevalence.

Anyway, among the replies I received to my tweet was one that linked the fragment “shoot” to homicide. It’s clear the guy was joking, but it got me thinking…

Being the geek I am, I looked up the state’s crime statistics and graphed the homicides recorded by the police from 1995 through to 2009:

Graph of homicides recorded by NSW Police from 1995 through to 2009.

The results are intriguing – not only because the figures are incredibly low for a major metropolis.

Notice how Inner Sydney (the CBD and surrounds) tops the list with 156 reports, followed by Fairfield-Liverpool (southwestern suburbs), then the Hunter (northern wine & coal region), Canterbury-Bankstown (inner southwestern suburbs), Illawarra (south coast) and the Mid North Coast.

Eventually Central West Sydney (which includes Parramatta) makes an appearance with 66 reports, while – hang on! – the well-heeled Eastern Suburbs rounds out the Top 10 with 52 reports.

Oh, my. That’s enough to make oneself gag on one’s latte.

So what’s this got to do with learning?

In the workplace, how often do we L&D professionals make assumptions that simply aren’t true?

I’ll hazard a guess: too often.

My point is, we should endeavour to back up our assumptions with evidence.

• What are the learning priorities of the business?
• What is the most effective mode of delivery?
• Is Gen-Y collaborative?
• Are baby boomers technophobic?
• Does that expensive leadership course improve performance?
• Are our people incapable of self-directed learning?

These are just some of the many questions that we really should answer with data.

Otherwise we may find ourselves about 25 years out of date.

Ass