Gotta Hear Both Biases

Some examples we may see in the Times in the near future

Image: Thomas Ricker

Bias incidents on both sides have been reported. A student walking near campus was threatened with being lit on fire because she wore a hijab. Other students were accused of being racist for supporting Mr. Trump, according to a campuswide message from Mark Schlissel, the university’s president.

New York Times

1. People described 2016 as being a time of great upheaval. One woman, a refugee from a long, bloody civil war, reported arriving on dry land after days in a crowded raft at sea. “When I had the first sip of water I’d had in three days, I felt like I was walking into the gates of heaven,” she said. Another woman, halfway across the globe, sat in her kitchen, shaking her head slowly, thinking back on her own year as she picked at a tin of Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle. “We added on to the house, and suddenly, boom — my bedroom is twice as far away from the laundry room as it used to be.” She shrugged. “But what do we do? We adapt.” She smiled philosophically. “We have no choice.”

2. Low-income drivers report safety concerns with old, damaged vehicles that often put them in fear for their lives. “Sometimes my steering freezes up. The whole back end is pretty much tied on with old string,” one man said. “But I have to get to work, and I can barely afford maintaining this car — so buying a new one? Forget it.” Still, wealthy drivers are not immune from concerns the safety of their automobiles. One described — with visible anxiety — a poorly adjusted rear view mirror in his brand-new Chevy Malibu. “Everyone says, “Bob, just reach up and adjust it.” He shook his head. “But for some reason, I haven’t done it yet.”

3. Girls reported feeling that the school didn’t feel like a supportive place to them. “My math teacher told me I would never understand algebra because I was a girl,” said one ninth grader, “And my gym teacher said I had to take tap dancing instead of weight lifting, because ‘my legs might get too big.’” But boys didn’t feel that the school supported them either. A tenth boy recalled being ordered to turn off his phone when class started. “I don’t get it,” he said defiantly. “I mean, it’s my phone.”

4. East side residents say the varnish factory has to close. “When the factory is operating, my kids can’t go outside. It smells too awful, and sometimes their noses bleed,” said an East side resident, who also fears that the cancer she and four out of five of her closest neighbors have is a result of years of exposure in both the air and ground water. But a West side resident insisted that closing down the factory is not the answer. “The CEO lives right next door to me, when he’s not at work, he likes to putter around in the yard. Sometimes, if I’m puttering around in my yard, he says hello to me, and sometimes, if I don’t know he’s there, he makes me jump right out of my skin. ” She shook her head. “It really annoys me that people on the East side won’t look at the bigger picture.”

5. Environmentalists say that continued use of fossil fuels will continue to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, threatening the health, safety and indeed the very existence of all life on earth. They are particularly concerned about offshore drilling. “The more we leave in the ground, the better,” said one prominent climate scientist. “Also, accidents are common on offshore rigs, and these accidents cause further harm to already vulnerable marine ecosystems.” But there are others who insist offshore drilling can be beneficial to certain species. “The other day I must have seen ten seagulls hanging out on a rig, just chilling out,” said a random guy. “What if these environmentalists got their way and that rig was suddenly gone? Where would those seagulls go?” The climate scientist hypothesized that ten seagulls would be likely to have little trouble finding another place to go. But the random guy shook his head. “You say that,” he said. “But with all due respect, can you prove it?” The climate scientist shrugged. The random guy nodded. “I rest my case,” he said.