I had just gone into labour (to have a baby) when a regular client called with some last-minute and typically urgent editing he needed done. It was 10pm on a Friday night.
I explained that I was in labour and that we would be heading to the hospital.
Client: But I heard labour can take anywhere from 10-14 hours, so you should have enough time to do this edit quickly. Please?
After reading about gender-bias and conversation dominance in the classroom, I asked for a peer to observe a physics class I was teaching and keep track of the discussion time I was giving to various students along with their race and gender. In this exercise, I knew I was being observed and I was trying to be extra careful to equally represent all students―but I STILL gave a disproportionate amount of discussion time to the white male students in my classroom (controlling for the overall distribution of genders and races in the class). I was shocked. It felt like I was giving a disproportionate amount of time to my white female and non-white students.
Even when I was explicitly trying, I still failed to have the discussion participants fairly represent the population of the students in my classroom.
This is a well-studied phenomena and it’s called listener bias. We are socialized to think women talk more than they actually do. Listener bias results in most people thinking that women are ‘hogging the floor’ even when men are dominating.
Stop interrupting me: gender, conversation dominance and listener bias, by Jessica Kirkpatrick from Women In Astronomy
Implicit bias is a thing, just like privilege. Calling it out isn’t meant to shame anyone, but to alert us to step it up and improve ourselves so everyone can have a voice. Be conscious of what you and others are saying, and know when not to speak.
somethingcleverindeed said: It's not just American history that gets skipped over, either. In my (high school) world history class, my teacher declared on the first day that most of the rest of the world wasn't important. We spent the rest of the trimester studying Europe from the Renaissance to the 1800s. Good to know that the rest of the world didn't have any impact on history in that time period! /sarcasm
Most “World” History classes need scare quotes, to be quite honest. :|
Many years ago, I took a “World Lit” class. I noticed the syllabus only included Western European works (the usual suspects - Beowulf, etc). I asked why she focused exclusively on Europe and she told me that there was no great literature from other parts of the world because writing wasn’t as important in other countries. “Not even China?” I asked. It was a loaded question (I am half-Chinese), so she did not respond, and just told me to discuss it with her after class. I did not; I withdrew from the course and went to the English department chairperson to complain.
Next quarter, they offered the course again, still titled World Lit, only this time the course description said it would only focus on Western Europe. I think they missed the point…
I just attended my daughter’s high school curriculum night. She is taking a World History and Literature block course. It turns out, it isn’t “world” at all, but Eurocentric focused. The years they consider history is rather recent. Sadly, I expected this because these courses were coined and designed decades ago and the schools don’t change nor update, which is wrong and disappointing.