Sunday, July 8, 2007

Affirmative Action

Stereotypes are another name for heuristics. Heuristics are simple rules that your brain uses to simplify decision making. Our brains have developed heuristics through exposure to media and experience. We use them because they work. (For me, Dell laptops are unreliable. Ergo, I bought a Mac. Because my brain reduced the number of brands that I had to look at, I had an easier decision.)

Calling people evil because they allow their brains to do what they do best (well, in some cases) doesn't make much sense to me. Racism and prejudice don't come into effect until people are unwilling to adapt their heuristics based on new evidence.

So unless you're willing to provide that evidence, don't be upset when you reinforce a stereotype instead of changing it. In other words, yes Virginia, racists do exist...but you might be contributing to their delusions.

Personal responsibility...there's enough to go around.

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