Opinions are inherently biased
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 00:03
I could give a flying Furby whether someone’s a “geed” or a Greek, but I am biased. My friends are vocalists, “bronies,” tabletop gamers and sci-fi geeks. If I don’t think I have something in common with someone, I’ll probably just ignore them.
If there’s one thing I learned from my gender studies class last year, it’s that everybody’s biased. As humans, we come with factory-installed prejudices. We like this food more than that food, we prefer this TV program to that, and when we’re with friends we watch this genre and mock another one.
There is no opinion that is unbiased. The most we can hope to do in a discussion about conflicting biases is stay cool and not let our tempers get the better of us, if it’s about if Twilight Sparkle turning into an alicorn is ridiculous, that guy whose fraternity raised the money for his F-to-M surgery, or who wins the geeds vs. Greeks flame war on the Barometer website. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, even if it doesn’t align with mine.
If I don’t respect the right for others to have opinions, I’d be a giant hypocrite to continue writing an opinion column for the Barometer.
What opinions need are facts — True, reliable, verifiable facts on that to base our opinions. Yes, I realize I’m saying this after a letter to the editor called me out on some facts that I hadn’t researched as thoroughly as I should have. I was wrong. But, I’ve had more practice than most in owning up to my mistakes. I’ve made a lot of them, and it’s taken me time, but I own them now.
However, the recent Greek vs. geed flame war has shown that open minds aren’t exactly a priority at our school. By open minds, I mean minds open to opposing opinions and different points of view. I’m not saying Oregon State is a hotbed of prejudices and hatred — but it is full of stubborn people who don’t want to admit there’s a possibility the other side has a valid point — just like everywhere else.
Prejudice and bias aren’t limited to skin color, sexual orientation or someone’s favorite movie genre. We finished off a month dedicated to celebrating civil rights milestones, equality and triumphs over prejudice with a vicious, unending argument over whether geeds or Greeks were right. Individuals on both sides acted immaturely and did it with peacock-like displays of bias. Individuals on both sides acted with maturity and restraint.
Bust out those leadership skills and the maturity you’ve hopefully learned at college, instead of threatening to beat up the Barometer’s staff or labeling all Greeks as hotheads living in dens of iniquity.
Smear campaigns always make both sides look equally bad, and don’t deserve respect. Don’t point out why someone’s worse than you. Instead, you should be able to prove your merit without bringing anyone else into it.
If you can’t, that sounds like something you need to work out for yourself.
Keep that in mind as we head into the ASOSU elections.
Irene Drage is a senior in English. The opinions expressed in her columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Drage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.