November 18, 2009 at 1:36 am Leave a comment

best analysis came from my babysitter

Coming from a family of academics and teachers, I was instilled from birth with the importance of education. I never really thought I was biased against people without formal education though, because if you had asked me I would readily acknowledge that many people missed out on the opportunities I took for granted through no fault of their own. I happened to be living overseas in 2003, when then President George W. Bush started the war in Iraq. It was hard to explain his rationale to the local people I knew, given the worldwide protests, my own sense of his ignorance and arrogance, and the conflicting reasons offered by his administration. Most of my co-workers had already constructed their own explanations of America’s foreign policy and predictions of the outcome based on their perceptions of U.S. military force and Middle East politics, but the best comment I heard came from my babysitter, who said, “All that will come of this is some American mother crying over her son and some Iraqi mother crying over her son.” When I repeated this to a group of fellow Americans, I added that in my opinion the best analysis came from my babysitter who hadn’t even graduated from high school, as if that mattered. I hadn’t planned to frame it that way, but an unconscious prejudice surfaced spontaneously.

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