I posted this in reply to a woman’s assertion that everybody is a racist because everybody is biased. But, of course, she naturally claimed she had less bias, and was a good Progressive, and thus excused herself as less racist than evil Trump voters:
She sees a technicality as a greater truth. Technically speaking, everyone is biased because they are not gods, they must make assumptions based on incomplete data because they cannot be fully objective about the entirety of the known universe. Only Progs are foolish enough to think such objectivity is possible in a human being.
The question becomes, are the assumptions 1) unfounded, 2) pathological in some way, and 3) measurable at any kind of net level? If, for instance, a woman grasps her purse when a black man in a hoodie walks by late at night, is she unfounded in her assumption? No, she isn’t. Statistically speaking, she’s more likely to be assaulted by a man fitting that description than, say, a Chinese guy dressed in a bespoke tailored suit.
Your opponent would consider such a thing to be racism, or at least “implicit bias.” And that may be technically true, but it’s also a fallacy. She’s missing the forest for the trees.
Also, we have to ask if the bias is pathological. If said woman clutches her purse, true, she may have bias. But does clutching her purse harm the black man in a hoodie? Not a bit. Maybe the bias would be pathological if a perfectly qualified black man in a suit and tie was at her desk for an interview, and she was an HR rep, and she dismissed him because his skin was darker than hers. But let’s be honest here: that’s far more likely to win him extra points in our current political climate, than to detract from his hiring chances.
Finally, is the bias measurable? One of the fascinating things most Progs fail to realize, is that bias often cancels out. Sure, a white person will have biases. But so does the black person. How does that figure into the calculus? And sometimes the biases people have are not in favor of those like them. Even if you’re a tall, talented white basketball player, you’ll have to fight the bias that blacks are better than whites at basketball (a bias, mind you, that’s not without some truth to it – but most biases often contain some truth). That’s even when the coach is white!
We can eliminate obviously unfounded and pathological discrimination when the government is the purveyor of those things. That’s how we eliminated slavery, Jim Crow, and a host of similar ills. We can prohibit the government from having the power to do those things.
But can we (or should we even if we could) control the minds of each American, so as to fully remove from him each grain of bias? Every assumption? Each generalization? No. It’s not possible. It’s a fool’s errand. It can never be, and the price for attempting it is the fabric of our entire civilization. And even the dumbest hick in redneckistan instinctively knows that at some level. Only the intellectual can fool himself into believing otherwise. Only the intellectual has such a high opinion of his own wisdom, that he believes himself to be the equal of God, who alone could do such a thing.
It is, in an odd way, a sort of cosmic Dunning-Kruger effect, where these people fail to understand how small and insignificant they really are.