I found myself agreeing with a lot of the points Lankes made throughout the “Improve Society” thread. When he started talking about bias, as being present and crucial to knowledge, I couldn’t agree more. One quote I really liked was on page 122, “The means of providing safety and security, and even freedom, is not, I repeat, not to be unbiased. You can’t be.” I agree that our brains search for patters, as Lankes mentions, and we have existing views that will always influence our decisions. It always bothered me how a lot of people think science and math is an unbiased profession, and some how being unbiased is some sort of ideal to strive for. But, scientists are trying to prove something out of a biased hypothesis, and they are linking together the results of unbiased data to create a biased response to it.
Like Lankes, I think we need to stop focusing on being unbiased, and start recognizing what our biases are–and what ways we can implement them in librarianship. One thing that attracted me to this field, is that so many people came from different areas of study: English, History, Anthropology, Education, Music, Russian Literature, Business, etc. We all should take our biases we created in undergrad and figure out how to implement them as future librarians–and how to listen, learn and incorporate biases that differ from ours to better serve the community.
Knowledge definitely has a bias, and needs a bias. Isn’t that how conversation works? Two opposing views, or similar views, discussing a topic and gaining knowledge. Without the conversant having a view point, then it’s not a conversation. One of the most important sayings I learned in my undergrad through my English major, and writing papers is asking the question, “So what?” I think that’s an important one to ask when seeking knowledge. So what? What’s the point? If it is just to gather facts, regurgitate data, then why are we doing it? Going a step further and creating some sort of analysis, idea or action improves society. If someone is writing a paper and just spitting out facts, without arguing something, then so what, why should we listen? If librarians are just handing out information, and being the keepers of unbiased information, not going the step further, then the conversation stops at receiving the information. And the key element, action, is over looked and missed.