Author Topic: Why I hate most discussions about bias  (Read 1129 times)

intellectsucks

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Why I hate most discussions about bias
« on: August 31, 2017, 08:10:49 AM »
Here is a really fascinating article about gender bias:
https://qz.com/1065088/two-women-entrepreneurs-invented-a-cofounder-named-keith-to-be-taken-seriously-it-worked/
There is a really key piece of information in it that comes close to the end of the article.  That key piece of information then almost completely undermines the majority of article.  I’d encourage you to read the article and see if you can spot it before reading on.  It’s a fairly short article and it really is an interesting read.
Did you catch it?  Here it is: “By then, they also felt more comfortable ‘being super direct in speaking, more like we would when we were Keith,’ says Dwyer.”  About 80-90% of the article gives the impression that by merely switching the perceived gender of the people communicating, they were able to get better results.  Then at the end it throws out a bombshell which not only completely undermines the implication of the rest of the article, but also goes completely unexamined: the women altered their style of communication when they were communicating as the “male” cofounder!!
This is why I hate most discussions about “bias”.  When discussing things like workplace communications, salary, etc, there are roughly ten bazillion factors that go into the results.  In these discussions one factor is overblown (changing the name to a masculine one), while another is completely ignored (they changed their communication style in addition to the name).  Using this example, the communication style is almost certainly the reason they were not getting the results they wanted, since they saw improved results by adopting that communication style with their real identities.
Why does this matter?  The article is identifying a problem (women in business face unique hurdles) and then assigning blame to a certain factor (people in business are biased against women).  The problem they identified is definitely a serious one, but the factor that they assign blame to appears to be completely unrelated based on their own account of the situation and hence any solutions that would come from it are unlikely to help and could actually hurt.  How could it hurt?  Let’s look at another example:
Business Owner A hires women in various roles.  Their communication style does not work as well as the men that he hires, so they run into lots of different challenges.  Those women are told that the reason they are running into challenges is that Business Owner A is biased against them, so they never change their communication style.  Business Owner A concludes that women are not as effective at business communication and so develops a bias that didn’t exist before.
Addressing the actual underlying reason for the struggles (conflict of communication styles) will largely eliminate the struggles and will not reinforce or cause any additional bias.  It also makes changing the business owner’s mindset regarding that communication style much easier.  It’s a lot easier to convince people to change their minds when you’re discussing business communication strategies than when you’re calling them a misogynist.

scantee

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 08:24:35 AM »
You're right, that part of what this is getting at is communication style, but it's not that gender has nothing to do with it. There is a substantial body of research that women incur greater social costs than men regardless of whether they communicate in stereotypical feminine or masculine ways. If they adopt feminine communication styles, they're seen as weak, unassertive, unable to stand up to pushy people. If they adopt masculine communications styles, they're seen as abrasive, pushy, unable to get along. Part of what allowed the women in this article to feel comfortable speaking directly is that they knew (ore expected) that there would be decreased social cost of doing so while posing as a man. So it's not just the direct communication style that is the issue, it's the communication style paired with a gender presentation that makes that style acceptable.

PoutineLover

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 08:45:37 AM »
As a woman, it's sometimes hard to tell if someone is talking to you a certain way because you are female, since you don't get to experience life as a man. I know how it feels though. I can't tell you how many times I've been talked down to condescendingly, and I'm accused of pulling the gender card if I dare assign that treatment to the fact that I'm female. It gets pretty frustrating, let me tell ya. I don't think that invalidates the experiment at all, for the reasons scantee mentioned. Maybe men should realize what they're doing and work to fix it, instead of telling us it's just imaginary..

intellectsucks

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 08:50:03 AM »
@scantee: That’s an excellent point, but once again, doesn’t tell the whole story.  This article from Harvard Business Review details the social cost that you reference (namely that women who negotiate for salary in the same way as men are viewed negatively in the workplace), but also details a solution (negotiate in a way that is different from the way that men usually negotiate).  https://hbr.org/2014/06/why-women-dont-negotiate-their-job-offers
I also want to address something that I just realized I left out of my OP: there are ABSOLUTELY instances when women face bias and discrimination in the workplace.  My point is not to discount those things, but merely point out that differences in results can stem from different factors (I’m using bias and style as examples).  Right now all of those differences are being attributed to BIAS which means that there is almost no focus on addressing problems with STYLE.

intellectsucks

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 09:28:34 AM »
@poutine: I absolutely agree that people (studies show that women also view other women who act too “masculine” in a negative light) should definitely work on improving their perception of different communication methods, but that doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t work on different methods of communicating too.  Additionally, if people are communicating effectively and getting excellent results from the majority of other people, then they will be able to more easily identify instances of genuine bias.
Consider the women from the article: they attributed their initial difficulties to bias.  My reading of the situation was that their style of communication was the more likely cause of those difficulties.

Wexler

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 09:33:27 AM »
@scantee: That’s an excellent point, but once again, doesn’t tell the whole story.  This article from Harvard Business Review details the social cost that you reference (namely that women who negotiate for salary in the same way as men are viewed negatively in the workplace), but also details a solution (negotiate in a way that is different from the way that men usually negotiate).  https://hbr.org/2014/06/why-women-dont-negotiate-their-job-offers
I also want to address something that I just realized I left out of my OP: there are ABSOLUTELY instances when women face bias and discrimination in the workplace.  My point is not to discount those things, but merely point out that differences in results can stem from different factors (I’m using bias and style as examples).  Right now all of those differences are being attributed to BIAS which means that there is almost no focus on addressing problems with STYLE.

The article you reference:

But here’s a twist: we love it when women negotiate assertively for others. It’s just when women are negotiating assertively for themselves — particularly around pay — where we find a backlash.

You've mixed up cause and effect.  What you call the underlying reason for the conflict in communication styles is actually caused by bias.  Women communicate the way they do to because of bias.  You appear to be on board with the fact that women don't get to communicate like men, you'd just like them to a) stop bitching about it and b) communicate differently then men, but also differently than they normally do in an end-around manner that doesn't trigger male bias. 

Men get to say they deserve a raise because they are awesome, women have to pretend that they deserve a raise because they'd be a better advocate for others if they did.  Isn't this just encouraging the indirect communication you think is an annoying STYLE in women?  Isn't this just a great example of why women have adopted more indirect communication-because it works better?  I'd love it if women could just go in an ask for what they wanted instead of dancing backwards in high heels to get the same outcome as men.

One of the best examples of eliminating gender bias is how they screen musicians in orchestra auditions.  Now that there is no gender attached, women have more than doubled their representation.  I guarantee that the people running the auditions before the screens would have sworn up and down they weren't biased.   Maybe they would have given advice to women like "stop bitching-you should just wear pants and walk out there really aggressive with your instrument.  But not, like, too aggressive, because that's unfeminine."  The way that they solved the problem was to work to eliminate bias from the people in positions of power.  I'd propose that, since we know that people in positions of power don't like it when women communicate in the same way as men, we work to fix that problem of clear bias.


Dicey

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 10:09:06 AM »
What a brilliant solution!
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Laura33

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2017, 10:31:22 AM »
@scantee: That’s an excellent point, but once again, doesn’t tell the whole story.  This article from Harvard Business Review details the social cost that you reference (namely that women who negotiate for salary in the same way as men are viewed negatively in the workplace), but also details a solution (negotiate in a way that is different from the way that men usually negotiate).  https://hbr.org/2014/06/why-women-dont-negotiate-their-job-offers
I also want to address something that I just realized I left out of my OP: there are ABSOLUTELY instances when women face bias and discrimination in the workplace.  My point is not to discount those things, but merely point out that differences in results can stem from different factors (I’m using bias and style as examples).  Right now all of those differences are being attributed to BIAS which means that there is almost no focus on addressing problems with STYLE.

The article you reference:

But here’s a twist: we love it when women negotiate assertively for others. It’s just when women are negotiating assertively for themselves — particularly around pay — where we find a backlash.

You've mixed up cause and effect.  What you call the underlying reason for the conflict in communication styles is actually caused by bias.  Women communicate the way they do to because of bias.  You appear to be on board with the fact that women don't get to communicate like men, you'd just like them to a) stop bitching about it and b) communicate differently then men, but also differently than they normally do in an end-around manner that doesn't trigger male bias. 

Men get to say they deserve a raise because they are awesome, women have to pretend that they deserve a raise because they'd be a better advocate for others if they did.  Isn't this just encouraging the indirect communication you think is an annoying STYLE in women?  Isn't this just a great example of why women have adopted more indirect communication-because it works better?  I'd love it if women could just go in an ask for what they wanted instead of dancing backwards in high heels to get the same outcome as men.

One of the best examples of eliminating gender bias is how they screen musicians in orchestra auditions.  Now that there is no gender attached, women have more than doubled their representation.  I guarantee that the people running the auditions before the screens would have sworn up and down they weren't biased.   Maybe they would have given advice to women like "stop bitching-you should just wear pants and walk out there really aggressive with your instrument.  But not, like, too aggressive, because that's unfeminine."  The way that they solved the problem was to work to eliminate bias from the people in positions of power.  I'd propose that, since we know that people in positions of power don't like it when women communicate in the same way as men, we work to fix that problem of clear bias.

This.

FWIW, I have always, always been blunt, but I became much more successful when I learned to adjust my approach to be softer and more indirect.
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intellectsucks

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2017, 10:38:18 AM »
@Wexler: I’m not advocating that women “quit bitching about it”.  I think that bias and discrimination are very serious issues.  That’s why I want to see bias and discrimination ISOLATED from other factors so that it can be addressed on its own; I believe that this will be more effective.
I don’t know if you didn’t read the whole article or just didn’t absorb a portion of it but here is the bit about how women can effectively negotiate on behalf of themselves with better results:
“OK. So, we shouldn’t blame women for being more reticent than men to negotiate for higher pay. But, is there anything that women can do about it? Thankfully, yes.
The answer is to use a “relational account” — or what I have learned from Sheryl Sandberg to call a “think personally, act communally” strategy. Using a “relational account” or “I-We” strategy involves asking for what you want while signaling to your negotiating counterpart that you are also taking their perspective. So, how does it work?
First, you want to explain to your negotiating counterpart why — in their eyes — it’s legitimate for you to be negotiating (i.e., appropriate or justified under the circumstances). Sheryl says that in her negotiations with Facebook, she told them, “Of course you realize that you’re hiring me to run your deal team so you want me to be a good negotiator.” Sandberg wanted Facebook to see her negotiating as legitimate because, if she didn’t negotiate, they should be worried about whether they’d made the right hire.
Second, you want to signal to your negotiating counterpart that you care about organizational relationships. After pointing out that they should want her to be a good negotiator, Sheryl recounts saying, “This is the only time you and I will ever be on opposite sides of the table.” In other words, “I am clear that we’re on the same team here.”
In experimental research testing evaluators’ impressions of alternative negotiating scripts, we found that relational accounts helped women both get what they wanted and make the impression that they wanted to make. For instance, one successful relational account that we tested was very similar to Sheryl’s, but was written for a more junior employee: “I don’t know how typical it is for people at my level to negotiate, but I’m hopeful that you’ll see my skill at negotiating as something important that I can bring to the job.” Note that I’m not suggesting that women use these scripts word-for-word. Come up with an “I-We strategy” that makes sense in context and feels authentic to you.”

This is not negotiating for a raise because it will make them a better advocate for others, this is showing your employer how you will add value and why you deserve a higher salary that reflects that value.

In regards to advising women to communicate differently than they normally do, I believe that EVERYONE in a business setting should communicate differently than they normally do.  I also stated in another post that I absolutely agree that people in business should ALSO adjust their mindset to be more accommodating to different communication styles.  The article in the first post actually undermines your point that women have an inherent advantage when it comes to communication.  When they started communicating the same say as when they were using a pseudonym, they started getting the same results.  If the people they were dealing with were really biased against women, wouldn’t they have gotten inferior results when presenting themselves as female regardless of  communication style?

I do not believe that favoring one type of communication over another is evidence of inherent bias (even if that communication style is most commonly used by one gender, race, etc).  If you do believe that, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.


Wexler

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2017, 11:16:27 AM »
@Wexler: I’m not advocating that women “quit bitching about it”.  I think that bias and discrimination are very serious issues.  That’s why I want to see bias and discrimination ISOLATED from other factors so that it can be addressed on its own; I believe that this will be more effective.
I don’t know if you didn’t read the whole article or just didn’t absorb a portion of it but here is the bit about how women can effectively negotiate on behalf of themselves with better results:
“OK. So, we shouldn’t blame women for being more reticent than men to negotiate for higher pay. But, is there anything that women can do about it? Thankfully, yes.
The answer is to use a “relational account” — or what I have learned from Sheryl Sandberg to call a “think personally, act communally” strategy. Using a “relational account” or “I-We” strategy involves asking for what you want while signaling to your negotiating counterpart that you are also taking their perspective. So, how does it work?
First, you want to explain to your negotiating counterpart why — in their eyes — it’s legitimate for you to be negotiating (i.e., appropriate or justified under the circumstances). Sheryl says that in her negotiations with Facebook, she told them, “Of course you realize that you’re hiring me to run your deal team so you want me to be a good negotiator.” Sandberg wanted Facebook to see her negotiating as legitimate because, if she didn’t negotiate, they should be worried about whether they’d made the right hire.
Second, you want to signal to your negotiating counterpart that you care about organizational relationships. After pointing out that they should want her to be a good negotiator, Sheryl recounts saying, “This is the only time you and I will ever be on opposite sides of the table.” In other words, “I am clear that we’re on the same team here.”
In experimental research testing evaluators’ impressions of alternative negotiating scripts, we found that relational accounts helped women both get what they wanted and make the impression that they wanted to make. For instance, one successful relational account that we tested was very similar to Sheryl’s, but was written for a more junior employee: “I don’t know how typical it is for people at my level to negotiate, but I’m hopeful that you’ll see my skill at negotiating as something important that I can bring to the job.” Note that I’m not suggesting that women use these scripts word-for-word. Come up with an “I-We strategy” that makes sense in context and feels authentic to you.”

This is not negotiating for a raise because it will make them a better advocate for others, this is showing your employer how you will add value and why you deserve a higher salary that reflects that value.

In regards to advising women to communicate differently than they normally do, I believe that EVERYONE in a business setting should communicate differently than they normally do.  I also stated in another post that I absolutely agree that people in business should ALSO adjust their mindset to be more accommodating to different communication styles.  The article in the first post actually undermines your point that women have an inherent advantage when it comes to communication.  When they started communicating the same say as when they were using a pseudonym, they started getting the same results.  If the people they were dealing with were really biased against women, wouldn’t they have gotten inferior results when presenting themselves as female regardless of  communication style?

I do not believe that favoring one type of communication over another is evidence of inherent bias (even if that communication style is most commonly used by one gender, race, etc).  If you do believe that, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Except your evidence shows favor of one communication style ONLY when men use it and not tolerating that same communication style ONLY when women use it.  That's....bias.  It's treating men and women differently.  If it weren't bias, then why don't men have to use a relational account or I-we strategy?  Why can't women just do what men do?  The article shows that women CAN'T just adopt a style preferentially used by men to get the same results. 

It would actually be fine if businesses had a "language" for communication everyone could learn.  We don't disagree that people can learn to communicate differently to help themselves.  But I'm opposed to the idea that the end game magic solution is that women should learn a completely different language for communication than men do simply because men aren't comfortable with having women speak to them in a way that, when used by men, is rewarded.

If you are proposing that women follow Sheryl Sandberg's advice until we make a more perfect world, great.  We agree.  But a larger and far more important part of the conversation should be technological and logistical solutions to help people recognize implicit bias.  Anonymize resumes and communications, maybe you'd get faster and better results.
 

Wexler

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2017, 11:51:45 AM »
SO that article had a couple of interesting anecdotes. One was from a man communicating in his natural tone, but presenting as a woman.

A man, Martin Schneider, unwittingly began using the signature of a woman co-worker, Nicole Pieri, in his correspondence, and he noticed that customers were subtly rude to him, frustrating him with their attitudes and haughtiness. When he went back to communicating as a man, the change in attitude was drastic.

Evidence that communication style isn't important.  The other story is the women who Remington Steele'd their company.  They had better experiences after the jig was up, which they attributed to a learning curve.  Communication style could have played a role, but the story also has other examples that they got faster responses and more polite interactions when presenting as men. 

The story of the guy getting shit on when writing as a woman was powerful because it's a great controlled experiment.   Also, men are more likely to believe the story.

I read the article, and I didn't come away thinking that women would be better off if they just communicated like men. I came away disappointed that people are so freaking biased that they act like low key jerks to women all the time and only stop when told the woman is a man.

gaja

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2017, 11:56:04 AM »
I find the research that has been done the last few years on trans persons very interesting. Although they are the same person, with the same work experience and same education before and after the sex change, many of them experience being treated very differently. They probably change some of their communication strategies, but I find it hard to believe that they suddenly start negotiating differently for salaries and stuff like that. This is a group we can learn a lot from if we want to find out which gender biases are real, and which ones we have the power to change individually.

some examples:
https://www.citylab.com/life/2017/01/what-trans-men-know-about-gender-in-the-workplace/512501/
http://time.com/transgender-men-sexism/
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Cali Nonya

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2017, 12:31:01 PM »
An apple and an orange are both fruit.
An apple is NOT an orange.
Yes both are fruit.

Bias means you always pick the apple over the orange.  Because, well, some people just prefer apples.  Some people prefer oranges.  Some people don't care, some people hate / love both.  It is human nature to have biases.  Get over it, we all have them, without bias, we could not function as decision making semi-rational actors.

Why did I pick apples and oranges?  Because a nice slice of orange pie really isn't the same as a nice slice of apple pie, and a nice glass of fresh squeezed apple juice in the morning is not the same as orange juice.  You are never going to get the exact same results if you substitute an apple for an orange.

Outcome and equality are not the same thing.  The government can impose that both apples and oranges are sold for the same price and have equal representation in school lunches and grocery stores (to even out the NW apple farmers to the SW orange growers).  But you know, I'll still pass on the orange pie.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 12:41:07 PM by Cali Nonya »

acroy

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2017, 12:33:40 PM »
I find it very interesting that business is still perceived as the 'mans world' yet the majority of consumer spending is controlled by women.

http://www.genderleadershipgroup.com/the-inclusionary-leadership-blog/210

So all those dudes running around in suits in the office, competing with each other, climbing the ladder, are trying to make better stuff for women to buy.

Seems a mis-match there.

I like the practice of 'Leveraging the Differences'. Previous posters alluded to somehow de-genderizing business. Screw that! Recognize that different people  bring different strengths and weaknesses, contributed to by background, age, personality type, etc etc etc. USE THOSE to build a better team! Don't try to force something. A good leader will actively communicate this tactic to the team, and keep the team pointed in the right direction.

A family member recently retired after a career in IT. He has an anecdote from the '90s iirc when IBM (one of his vendors) was aggressively hiring and promoting women & non-whites. He walked into a big meeting with 20 IBM employees. Big mix of gender, race.

They all dressed the same, acted the same. Interchangeable.

They were forcefully, self-consciously 'diverse' on paper and no stronger for it. One-dimensional, heavy corporate culture.
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Cali Nonya

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2017, 12:38:12 PM »
They all dressed the same, acted the same. Interchangeable.

They were forcefully, self-consciously 'diverse' on paper and no stronger for it. One-dimensional, heavy corporate culture.

+1  So true!  I have been in rooms like that many many times.

Wexler

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2017, 12:38:17 PM »
An apple and an orange are both fruit.
An apple is NOT an orange.
Yes both are fruit.

Bias means you always pick the apple over the orange.  Because, well, some people just prefer apples.  Some people prefer oranges.  Some people don't care, some people hate / love both.  It is human nature to have biases.  Get over it, we all have them, without bias, we could not function as decision making semi-rational actors.

Why did I pick apples and oranges?  Because a nice slice of orange pie really isn't the same as a nice slice of apple pie, and a nice glass or fresh squeezed apple juice in the morning is not the same as orange juice.  You are never going to get the exact same results if you substitute an apple for an orange.

Outcome and equality are not the same thing.  The government can impose that both apples and oranges are sold for the same price and have equal representation in school lunches and grocery stores (to even out the NW apple farmers to the SW orange growers).  But you know, I'll still pass on the orange pie.

So-who are the apple and the orange in your analogy? 

intellectsucks

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2017, 12:51:31 PM »
@Wexler: I think we agree on a lot more than this thread reflects, but I can’t agree that men will ALWAYS have their communication style favored.
Here’s a study that shows a pay gap between extroverts vs introverts:
http://www.businessinsider.com/susan-cain-on-why-extroverts-earn-more-2015-5
This would indicate that when men communicate in a different way, that they too face a pay gap.
I read the example of Martin completely differently too.  If Martin has a certain group of customers that deal with him, then all of a sudden, they start getting e-mails from someone else in the company, it makes sense to me that they might respond with some measure of attitude.
I also think you missed a key aspect of the women in the headline of the original story.  They didn’t just swap the perceived gender of the name, they adopted an entirely different way of communicating.  Their lack of experience before creating “Keith” was also likely a factor.  The guy who started his e-mail “Listen Ladies” may have been expressing a disrespectful tone due to their lack of experience, not due to their gender.  If they were men who wrote the same e-mail he may have responded with “Listen kids” or “Listen son”.
But you know what?  Neither of us have ANY IDEA WHATSOEVER what the actual case was.  And the original article gave no analysis or discussion to any possible explanation other than bias.  The headline and beginning of the article gives the impression that these women sent the same e-mails to people and the only difference was the name.  That’s not at all what happened, and it’s disingenuous to present it that way.  THAT’S what I have a problem with and why I started this thread.

Wexler

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2017, 01:06:47 PM »
@Wexler: I think we agree on a lot more than this thread reflects, but I can’t agree that men will ALWAYS have their communication style favored.
Here’s a study that shows a pay gap between extroverts vs introverts:
http://www.businessinsider.com/susan-cain-on-why-extroverts-earn-more-2015-5
This would indicate that when men communicate in a different way, that they too face a pay gap.
I read the example of Martin completely differently too.  If Martin has a certain group of customers that deal with him, then all of a sudden, they start getting e-mails from someone else in the company, it makes sense to me that they might respond with some measure of attitude.
I also think you missed a key aspect of the women in the headline of the original story.  They didn’t just swap the perceived gender of the name, they adopted an entirely different way of communicating.  Their lack of experience before creating “Keith” was also likely a factor.  The guy who started his e-mail “Listen Ladies” may have been expressing a disrespectful tone due to their lack of experience, not due to their gender.  If they were men who wrote the same e-mail he may have responded with “Listen kids” or “Listen son”.
But you know what?  Neither of us have ANY IDEA WHATSOEVER what the actual case was.  And the original article gave no analysis or discussion to any possible explanation other than bias.  The headline and beginning of the article gives the impression that these women sent the same e-mails to people and the only difference was the name.  That’s not at all what happened, and it’s disingenuous to present it that way.  THAT’S what I have a problem with and why I started this thread.

"if Martin has a certain group of customers"
Just to clarify-in the vox story, Nicole had been working with the client all along.  Martin took over as her, inadvertently.  When he "came out" as a man, the client immediately 180'd and starting taking seriously the advice that he had previously dismissed when he thought it came from Nicole.  So, while your interpretation might make sense in other scenarios, it's not the scenario that Martin is describing. 

Wexler

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2017, 01:15:34 PM »
@Wexler: I think we agree on a lot more than this thread reflects, but I can’t agree that men will ALWAYS have their communication style favored.
Here’s a study that shows a pay gap between extroverts vs introverts:
http://www.businessinsider.com/susan-cain-on-why-extroverts-earn-more-2015-5
This would indicate that when men communicate in a different way, that they too face a pay gap.
I read the example of Martin completely differently too.  If Martin has a certain group of customers that deal with him, then all of a sudden, they start getting e-mails from someone else in the company, it makes sense to me that they might respond with some measure of attitude.
I also think you missed a key aspect of the women in the headline of the original story.  They didn’t just swap the perceived gender of the name, they adopted an entirely different way of communicating.  Their lack of experience before creating “Keith” was also likely a factor.  The guy who started his e-mail “Listen Ladies” may have been expressing a disrespectful tone due to their lack of experience, not due to their gender.  If they were men who wrote the same e-mail he may have responded with “Listen kids” or “Listen son”.
But you know what?  Neither of us have ANY IDEA WHATSOEVER what the actual case was.  And the original article gave no analysis or discussion to any possible explanation other than bias.  The headline and beginning of the article gives the impression that these women sent the same e-mails to people and the only difference was the name.  That’s not at all what happened, and it’s disingenuous to present it that way.  THAT’S what I have a problem with and why I started this thread.

"if Martin has a certain group of customers"
Just to clarify-in the vox story, Nicole had been working with the client all along.  Martin took over as her, inadvertently.  When he "came out" as a man, the client immediately 180'd and starting taking seriously the advice that he had previously dismissed when he thought it came from Nicole.  So, while your interpretation might make sense in other scenarios, it's not the scenario that Martin is describing.

Sorry-quartz story!  And it looks like they then went on to interact with more clients to test their theory.  They controlled the experiment by having Martin sign as Nicole and Nicole sign as Martin.  It's not stated that any of the clients were ongoing clients (where are you getting that from? is it in the original twitter thread?).  However, Martin's anecdote about his difficulties as "Nicole" that he hadn't experiences as himself were pretty interesting.


Cali Nonya

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2017, 01:15:38 PM »
An apple and an orange are both fruit.
An apple is NOT an orange.
Yes both are fruit.

Bias means you always pick the apple over the orange.  Because, well, some people just prefer apples.  Some people prefer oranges.  Some people don't care, some people hate / love both.  It is human nature to have biases.  Get over it, we all have them, without bias, we could not function as decision making semi-rational actors.

Why did I pick apples and oranges?  Because a nice slice of orange pie really isn't the same as a nice slice of apple pie, and a nice glass or fresh squeezed apple juice in the morning is not the same as orange juice.  You are never going to get the exact same results if you substitute an apple for an orange.

Outcome and equality are not the same thing.  The government can impose that both apples and oranges are sold for the same price and have equal representation in school lunches and grocery stores (to even out the NW apple farmers to the SW orange growers).  But you know, I'll still pass on the orange pie.

So-who are the apple and the orange in your analogy?

Gender / Race / Age / Religion / Politics / Income / Education

Shall we go more esoteric?
Right-Handed vrs Left-Handed
Curly or Straight Hair
Potato or Potatoe

Doesn't matter.  What bothers me the most, and why I used fruit, is because there is a difference between the biases of individuals and structural (societal) biases.  Articles like the above are garbage since they take an individual example and (correctly or incorrectly) assume that it is relevant at a structural level without demonstrating significance.

I hate (oranges).  I will never pick the (orange).  This is unfair to (apples). 
So what?  I am just a person, you can find a counter example.  It has no meaning.

I just hate the click baity crap out there about "bias".  Discrimination is not allowed by race, age, sex, etc.  If an author thinks real discrimination is going on, it should be called that, investigated, and dealt with.  But so many of these "bias" articles are implying discrimination where there really isn't any.  It is sort of implying that "society" should be regulating people's "biases".  That if you have a "bias", you are a "bad" person, without acknowledging that all people have biases.  Do we really want to be living in a world where individual preferences (fair or otherwise) are scrutinized?

I hate oranges.  Oh no!  I am a horrible person and should be shunned into ... somewhere.  Behind a wall or something.  Err. 
This is all just stupid okay?
Or I write an article to be click-baity.
:)

madgeylou

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2017, 01:27:04 PM »
Quote from: Cali Nonya link=topic=78481.msg1679658#msg1679658 date
It is sort of implying that "society" should be regulating people's "biases".  That if you have a "bias", you are a "bad" person, without acknowledging that all people have biases.  Do we really want to be living in a world where individual preferences (fair or otherwise) are scrutinized?

These statements show a fundamental misunderstanding of the feminist and anti-racist movements. No one is saying that if you have bias you are a bad person. What we're saying is that we all have biases, and we need to acknowledge them and be aware of them, if we are going to keep those biases from turning into discriminatory behavior, as they so often do when people are unconscious of them, or get defensive and deny them.

PoutineLover

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2017, 01:27:19 PM »
An apple and an orange are both fruit.
An apple is NOT an orange.
Yes both are fruit.

Bias means you always pick the apple over the orange.  Because, well, some people just prefer apples.  Some people prefer oranges.  Some people don't care, some people hate / love both.  It is human nature to have biases.  Get over it, we all have them, without bias, we could not function as decision making semi-rational actors.

Why did I pick apples and oranges?  Because a nice slice of orange pie really isn't the same as a nice slice of apple pie, and a nice glass or fresh squeezed apple juice in the morning is not the same as orange juice.  You are never going to get the exact same results if you substitute an apple for an orange.

Outcome and equality are not the same thing.  The government can impose that both apples and oranges are sold for the same price and have equal representation in school lunches and grocery stores (to even out the NW apple farmers to the SW orange growers).  But you know, I'll still pass on the orange pie.

So-who are the apple and the orange in your analogy?

Gender / Race / Age / Religion / Politics / Income / Education

Shall we go more esoteric?
Right-Handed vrs Left-Handed
Curly or Straight Hair
Potato or Potatoe

Doesn't matter.  What bothers me the most, and why I used fruit, is because there is a difference between the biases of individuals and structural (societal) biases.  Articles like the above are garbage since they take an individual example and (correctly or incorrectly) assume that it is relevant at a structural level without demonstrating significance.

I hate (oranges).  I will never pick the (orange).  This is unfair to (apples). 
So what?  I am just a person, you can find a counter example.  It has no meaning.

I just hate the click baity crap out there about "bias".  Discrimination is not allowed by race, age, sex, etc.  If an author thinks real discrimination is going on, it should be called that, investigated, and dealt with.  But so many of these "bias" articles are implying discrimination where there really isn't any.  It is sort of implying that "society" should be regulating people's "biases".  That if you have a "bias", you are a "bad" person, without acknowledging that all people have biases.  Do we really want to be living in a world where individual preferences (fair or otherwise) are scrutinized?

I hate oranges.  Oh no!  I am a horrible person and should be shunned into ... somewhere.  Behind a wall or something.  Err. 
This is all just stupid okay?
Or I write an article to be click-baity.
:)
Cali, are you a white man? Because you write like someone who has never experienced subtle bias. Just because you don't think it exits, doesn't mean that it's not real and doesn't have real effects. If anything, the fact that there are so many articles about it should prove that there's something going on here.
It's not that just one manager doesn't like apples. It's that all apples are seen as slightly less capable, slightly more emotional, and less intelligent than oranges. Some apples are good at pretending that they are oranges, so they are "not like all those other apples" but in that process they have to hide their apple self so they can get ahead and sometimes put down the other apples so they look better. The result of those biases is that most managers would rather have oranges, just in case, but officially, oranges and apples can both apply. But the apples will be judged on the oranges attributes and found to be lacking. Okay, enough with the stupid fruit analogies, I hope you understand what I'm getting at here.

intellectsucks

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2017, 02:46:42 PM »
@Wexler: thanks for the clarity, I actually hadn’t clicked through to read the full story about Martin and Nicole, I was just going by the couple of sentences in the Witchsy article.  However, the Martin and Nicole story only serves to make me even madder about the Witchsy article.  The Witchsy article read to me like a clear case of perceived bias even though none seemed to exist.  The Martin and Nicole story seemed like a clear case of absolute bias, but because it was lumped into the same category as the Witchsy article, I was initially fairly dismissive of it.  After digging a little deeper into the details however, it really opened my eyes.  I wonder how many people decided that it was just another “false alarm” without getting more info.
It seems to me that the narrative is this: differences in results automatically mean bias based on gender/race/whatever.  That narrative is not only false (Marin and Nicole=bias, Witchsy=ineffective communication/inexperience), but seems destructive to me. 


gaja

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2017, 03:08:37 PM »
I'm really having trouble understanding the apple/orange analogy: where do you put the masculine women and the feminine men? The non-cis gendered? Margaret Thatcher?

Yes, the average man is different from the average woman. But there is a wide overlap in the bell  curves. I'm very happy I have a job where I can dress in pretty dresses every day, and still speak as forcefully as my male colleagues.
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Cali Nonya

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2017, 04:11:42 PM »
Cali, are you a white man? Because you write like someone who has never experienced subtle bias. Just because you don't think it exits, doesn't mean that it's not real and doesn't have real effects. If anything, the fact that there are so many articles about it should prove that there's something going on here.
It's not that just one manager doesn't like apples. It's that all apples are seen as slightly less capable, slightly more emotional, and less intelligent than oranges. Some apples are good at pretending that they are oranges, so they are "not like all those other apples" but in that process they have to hide their apple self so they can get ahead and sometimes put down the other apples so they look better. The result of those biases is that most managers would rather have oranges, just in case, but officially, oranges and apples can both apply. But the apples will be judged on the oranges attributes and found to be lacking. Okay, enough with the stupid fruit analogies, I hope you understand what I'm getting at here.

*laugh*
I'm a woman.  I work in industry and have experience much more extreme and overt sexism than most typical Americans.


sparkytheop

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2017, 08:41:26 PM »
I've been in some interesting situations as a female in a male dominated field (former maintenance electrician, including anything from programming to high voltage work), and in my current different, but related job.

I was top of my class in school (a two-year associates, as part of a work requirement).  I was more mechanically inclined than at least 90% of the other people.  Most my class/work mates did not appreciate that.  It was ok that another guy was better than them, but hugely insulting that "a girl" could do it better.

When someone saw me as "a threat", they would try to undermine me, spread rumors about me, try to claim I couldn't do a job as well, etc.  For the most part, I was able to let my work, and work ethics, speak for itself.  When they couldn't find something to complain about (because I was damn good at my job), they would complain about me doing the job the right way!  Really, if I was seen as "a threat", I could do no right.

I had a boss who was scared I was smarter than him (it was explained to me by another supervisor later).  So, he tried to claim I was unreliable, or didn't communicate well, or...  But, guess who was the first one to be called when shit hit the fan, because I was the only one who could troubleshoot and fix things?  Or, when pride dictated they have someone else work on it first, I was brought in to clean up the original mess, plus the new mess created by incapable coworker.

New people were definitely of the mind that I was incapable because I was female.  Most did not take long to change their minds.

However, the other crews?  When they needed an electrician, they would ask for me.  If they had questions, they would come to me.  If they needed something "fixed yesterday", they would ask for me.  They weren't in competition with me, so they really just wanted the person who could get shit done, and done right.  And that was me, the female.  They weren't worried I would show them up, they just wanted someone easy to work with and good at fixing things.

Within months at my new location, I had mechanics asking me for help with some things (because they were trying to figure out if the problem was mechanical, or electrical, and the electricians are "too good" to come help).  On the flipside, I still have some question everything I do, every issue I report, etc, so I have got in the habit of taking photos of everything.  I can write up a trouble report about a broken grease line, specify exactly where it is located when there are 20 different places it could be on one piece of equipment ("arm #12", directly below x pump control box") and they still come and say I must be seeing things, because they went down and didn't find anything.  So, I pull out the camera and show the photo of the big pile of grease under the broken line (seriously, like the size of a 2 lb block of cheese!)

Anyway, there are people who will judge you by your sex.  There are people who are threatened by others who are better at something than they are (but especially if that person is of the sex that isn't supposed to be good at that kind of thing).  It sucks.  I took a paycut to escape the hell of my old shop and am so much happier now.  And the guys on my current crew know I'm not in competition with them (I have no desire for the next level position, at all!), so I'm pretty safe from most of the bs.  But it took a long time to get here.

As for "feminine" communication and "masculine" communication?  I can tell someone to f*ck off just as well as any man.  And I have.  Sometimes it's pretty nice to be blue collar.

Another funny thing... The more "chauvinist", "women belong at home, not working" type the guy was, the more he was likely to really like me and my work.  Those who openly tried to say stuff like "women are just as capable", or "we need to not discriminate" were usually the worst about treating me like I was lesser, because I didn't have a penis.

Polaria

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Re: Why I hate most discussions about bias
« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2017, 03:01:27 AM »
You're right, that part of what this is getting at is communication style, but it's not that gender has nothing to do with it. There is a substantial body of research that women incur greater social costs than men regardless of whether they communicate in stereotypical feminine or masculine ways.

From my experience I agree with the phrase in bold.
  • if you communicate in a stereotypical feminine way  ==> You are considered a doormat.
  • If you communicate in a stereotypical masculine way ==> You are considered a bitch.