Thursday, July 9, 2020

Govenor Whitmer Discusses COVID-19 -Bias in Healthcare-Test Your Impressions with Word Association

Governor Whitmer discusses the up tick in COVID cases and the need to be more diligent. In addition there is further training for healthcare professionals on bias. Healthcare and poverty are big issues. I didn't see the statistics but I would suspect that poor health also hits rural White, Hispanics and others. That doesn't minimize the influence of discrimination as access to opportunities is part of a Capitalistic society where people can earn based on their abilities no matter what their background or creed. We don't really have that type of society and in many ways designed laws that are not truly promoting of different types of businesses, opening of opportunities, etc... It seems we are starting to think about it and work on it. It will be the challenge of our time that both Republicans and Democrats will start thinking about (not trying to get political here).

Randy Rash is the dean of the college of nursing (not sure where) and discusses implicit bias. Implicit bias exists and impacts our society. It is our "monkey" brain and jumps to quick answers without critical thought. I and my children have been subject to that implicit bias as short-sighted individuals engaged in coordinated harassment. They couldn't look beyond the color of a jersey, skin, or their own poor self image. So..yes much of what we decide about people isn't directly in our conscious focus. The silver lining is that some of those who who could have been mislead were not and acted on an inner gut feeling that the information was incorrect. Still it is there and we have to learn to deal with it.

I think word association is one way we can quickly and imperfectly check.

Choose some words that represent other people and take notice of the first things you think of.  Think in terms of race, religion, opposing political views, etc... that really are controversial for you and make you feel uncomfortable. Then take a few minutes and think about some alternative impressions and you may find that the "monkey brain" makes quick judgments (Process #1) and our slower rational brain (Process #2) is more logical. With training we can learn when process #1 can help us react quickly to danger and when when #2 can help us think more logically and strategically. This is often the case with people who develop their mental powers and their ability to switch between one and the other. It is important to remember that process #1 "monkey brain" isn't necessarily bad in situations where someone is being chased by a lion, roving gang of criminals, or in war but it isn't always as accurate as process #2 when we had a chance to think about it for a while. It has something to do with the prefrontal cortex and how the other networks in our heads work, draw and process information.

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