Bias is everywhere in our society – so began biological anthropologist Greg Laden, providing numerous examples from recent news at our September Community Gathering. And humanists aren’t immune from exhibiting bias because we all are products of our environment.
Our biology, our genetic makeup, Laden argued, is not the culprit as much as is our culture. Our individual and collective humanity arises from a combination of effects – genetic, environmental, learned, accidental factors – all mediated by culture. A culture, here in America, which is uniquely and intractably racist.
While some progress has been made, further reducing racial bias will take time. We must change the culture – and integration, Laden asserted, is key to that endeavor.
During the Q & A, Laden reminded us that we’ve been a multicultural country since our inception. We were out of time so we couldn’t tease out that truth much, but I left thinking about the re-vamped multicultural history that I used to teach high school students. It’s a history that too many Americans never learned about or want to deny. That takes us back to Laden’s opening remarks: bias is everywhere – even our past history lessons were riddled with bias.
— Audrey Kingstrom