Are we biased? To paraphrase a former teacher: half of us are biased and the other half lie about it.
Bias is reflected in our associations. Associational bias occurs when someone favors a person or organization because they trigger a connection with the one who experiences the bias. It can be a connection because the other person shares the same religion, went to the same school, or was in the same branch of the military. It can be an affinity for someone or some organization that has the same political inclinations.
Studies have shown that younger people who work are less biased than those who are retired. Employees are often required to interact with a broad range of customers, suppliers, government bureaucrats and anyone who does business with their employer.
Many Fountain Hills residents are retired. In retirement, we can choose to limit our contacts to a similar few, and our organizations to those with members like us. Do we become associationally biased in our retirement?
One way to address associational bias is to ask why someone or some organization feels the opposite of the way you feel. Don’t ask their position or how they feel about an issue, but why they feel the way they do. What in their background or experiences led to their position on that issue? What in their background or experiences makes them think the way they think?
Political organizations are by definition associationally biased. Fountain Hills has several. It would be interesting if in the new year, each invited a speaker to their group from the other side of the political aisle. The purpose is not to hear what they think, but to hear why they think the way they do. Understanding “why” someone has different political views might bridge the associational bias gap.