Recently the question was posed “Angela, can successfully bracket bias as a researcher?” Some would say without bias, less research would be conducted. Does it not drive passion.
This was my response.
This is a challenging, touchy, sensitive, and loaded question, and with all due respect to what is going on in the world today, it is significantly relevant. So, I will do my best to address the question being posed, and I do look forward to your feedback and guidance on how to combat biases and prejudicial dispositions in research and with holding a scholarly status.
First and foremost, all biases are not harmful biases. We as humans have conscious and unconscious biases, and most of our daily encounters, personal and professional, are biasedly filled, intentionally, and unintentionally. Some individuals can successfully manage their attitudes and dispositions when engaging with people they consider different, as these persons have developed or shifted their views to be more diversified while blindly maneuvering through a blended, yet in various cases, unamalgamated world. Biased tensions have continued to mount in the world that an assortment of people is now standing up for the rights to end racial unjust and unrest. They wish to see a world that is accepting. We the People want to see a world where ALL people, particularly those of color or others, can walk down the street in their neighborhoods without being harassed or being considered as prey or having people look at us like we don’t belong.
When people walk down the streets and peacefully protest, their motive is not to start any chaos or ruckus. They, all protestors in all countries, wants the world to know that people who feel as though they are advantaged has gone too far and that it took a video recording of a black man being murdered while in police custody most people in the world to get it mentally. Because most whites do not face similar challenges as black, they cannot necessarily relate, nor can they fathom the egregious trials, tribulations, and unrighteous interactions, that all Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Chinese, and other people face when it comes to the law, employment, housing, medical treatment, insurance, business ownership, loans, redlining, politics, and all other aspects of life. It is now that their blindfolds have been removed, and they can see the social injustices non-Caucasians face. Blacks have been categorized and labeled as so many things, a threat, irate, three-fifths human, among other things.
So, when you ask the question of whether I can, me personally, successfully bracket bias as a researcher, I can honestly say that during the research journey, bracketing will always be a work in progress. I find it essentially necessary to steer clear from topics where strong bias is present because it will not be a driving force of passion. It is not until the researcher can understand the coming and goings of others that they can mitigate and set aside their biased attitudes. It is not until individuals can fully, ethically, and successfully use the bracketing technique or other personal methods to combat bias, especially as researchers and scholars. I do feel that successful bracketing can be done, and for myself as a researcher, it will be done. I have learned a great deal throughout life and throughout my professional and academic experiences, particularly this doctoral journey, the importance of developing an all-inclusive attitude, and that when engaging in research topics and conversation, biases and prejudices can be revealed.
Yes, I am a black woman with a Caucasian husband. However, regardless of that aspect, I continually faced racism, with and without him, in restaurants, bars, on the streets, in Starbucks, at my place of employment, while seeking employment, even in academic settings, and yes even against people of my own race and color. I have and will continue to have an all-inclusive attitude and will never feel that I am of privilege or better than others, even with my economic or educational status. We as Americans are a whole, and until people start to develop an accepting attitude, then racial injustice will continue to exist. All of which are resulted in how we raise our children and what we instill in our children. Biases and Prejudices are not innate or natural features. They are and continue to be environmental, social, and circumstantial drivers and ties. This is not only applicable to America, as the same goes for all other people and countries, who have let and participated in societal associations to oppress and suppress people of color and others continually. To continually deny nonwhites opportunities and placate their inaccessibility, thus turning the other cheek or a blind eye when they personally witness racial disparities, inopportunity, or were not treated fairly, or maliciously treated due to their physical appearance.
Referencing today’s happenstances and occurrences. The Black Lives Matter Movement (BLMM), Antifa, Police Brutality Reform, The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), Equal Pay for women and people of color we have seen just how peaceful and racial protests can be. People are standing up and standing their ground when it comes to academic and economic segregation, isolation, racism, profiling, dehumanization, oppression, ill-gestation, lynching, and wrongful killings, among other things. Those who were closeted racists are coming into the light. Autonomous groups are going forces to take action for those who have been mistreated for so long, coming to the forefront to say, we now vividly see it, and we are no longer in denial, and we cannot take it anymore, we stand by you. Nevertheless, protesting and int destruction of properties going to do for Americans and people at large, who continues to fight a battle which has been swept under the rug for hundreds of years. Even with persons who are nonwhite, who continually face police brutality, racism, are underserved, and categorized and unprivileged, unbelonging, and undeserving.
So, again, to answer the question being posed. Yes, I have the mental capacity and desirability to bracket bias as a researcher successfully. I can only speak for myself. Even some of the most lucrative and decorated professionals hold biases and continue to treat people who are different unequally or less than, and as if they don’t matter. Because most medical, psychologists/therapists/counselors and other professionals are nonblack descents, when seeking preventive or therapeutic treatments, they do not trust that they will receive adequate care as their white counterparts, which is the primary reason why they remain vulnerable and susceptible to attract a variety of health conditions and illnesses that they forced to maintain and cope with themselves.
Personally, I stop seeing my primary care physician because, while all of her nursing staff are nonwhites, she uses the phrase “you people” when addressing blacks as a whole, and she’s Indian, nonwhite and other, which may be a result of her turnover rate when it comes to employment rates.
Yes, I can successfully use bracketing in research and all facets of my daily engagements. As it is one thing to have a passion for something, but it is another to have a one-tracked biased mental state when engaging in passion fulfilling activities.
What do you think, bracketing is not only applicable to scholarly research, as it should be applicable to everyday life interactions.
What do you think?