Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bias vs Prejudice, 4

I learned about “wild-turkey prejudice” while visiting friends in the mountains of North Carolina. Out taking my morning constitutional in this north-west corner of the State, I chanced to see a lone wild turkey. (Some of you know my sensory preference is auditory, but I also have an energy advantage in the right frontal lobe and tend to notice the unusual.) The color of this bird’s head and neck feathers were an unusual shade of vanilla-white. She was all alone, out foraging for her breakfast. I walked around looking for other wild turkeys as I was accustomed to seeing them in a group or flock of some size. Nada, zip. Back at the house I was told that this wild turkey was an outcast. My friends had named her Hagar. Turns out that birds are quite visual and Hagar’s head and neck plumage was different from all the other birds. Because of this (I assume here), she had been ousted from the flock and relegated to a solitary existence. It reminded me of a recent conversation I’d had. After offering to speak at a specific four-year college, I had been told very directly that I would never speak there because I was of a different race from the majority of students. To say I was a bit dumbfounded would be putting it mildly. I was tempted to say, “Our brains are all the same color. What difference does race make?” I held my tongue but shook my head in disbelief. Part 5 tomorrow.

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