Monday, May 24, 2010

Wrestling with bias

I like to think that I have a reasonable knowledge of my own biases and that I am to some extent able to put them aside, but I have found myself challenged over the last few weeks. At seminary I have found it unfortunate that the seminarians seem to be very negatively critical of each other and as a result people are reluctant to preach or share in front of the group. I can't fully understand what is happening because somehow I am on the outside - I hear about this second hand. There are 77 seminarians at the moment. Of these, 66 are black, 9 are white and 2 are coloured. My instinct is to ask 'why are black people so critical of each other', but I am realising that even though it is a 'black thing' - which is why I am on the outside - my observation may well have been the same if the racial composition of the seminary was different.
So as I struggle with cultural differences and sensitivity, I also need to struggle with determining what are cultural issues and what are people issues. Are black people critical or are people critical? It's too easy in a situation like this to see it in terms of race. But - white people are definitely also critical. Me too, sometimes.


Simon Thomas said...

I tend to be biased ( since we are inevitably) on the basis of ideology rather then "color" God after all made only one Adam and Eve, so our ancestry is common. Color is a thing for evolusionists to quible about. We are to follow Christ.

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

he he.... and you have just been critical of your fellow seminarians!

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Hi Simon - yes, I also struggle with ideological bias. I'm glad that you can see beyond colour.
Thanks Pete - that fact was not lost on me :)