This Month’s Book Recommendation by Paula McCormack, VP
BLINDSPOT, Hidden Biases of Good People
by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
Bantam; Reprint edition (August 16, 2016) 272 pages
Part of the extreme polarization that we Americans are experiencing today comes from unconscious biases, stereotypes and misperceptions. In BLINDSPOT, the authors refer to what they call “mindbugs”, which are the errors that are made, quite naturally, by ‘ingrained habits of thought that lead to errors in how we perceive, remember, reason, and make decisions” (Banaji, Greenwald). It’s important to note that we all develop these habits, as we compartmentalize, adopt attitudes from the social and cultural milieu in which we were raised, and are influenced by a host of other factors.
The authors begin by introducing a clever visual illusion which will challenge and confound you even AFTER it is explained. From then on, I was hooked. Clearly, my interpretation of “reality” was off, and I loved trying to figure out why! That is the purpose of BLINDSPOT; to elucidate those processes, subconscious but accessible, which sabotage our thoughts and behavior. Through honest self-examination, and guidance from the data presented, we can take some control of our prejudices, even if we can’t completely eradicate them.
It’s a great first step toward connecting with “the other”, whomever that might be, by attempting to understand what underlies the passion behind our differences.