Me & my bias

My name is Dana Zaki. I’m a muslim Egyptian girl that is born and raised in Egypt which of course has an influence on how my identity is shaped. Being a girl in a country like Egypt, where there’s a lot of sexism against women is very challenging which i believe has a very big role in shaping my identity since i was raised to follow certain rules and traditions to cope with our culture. However, I was privileged enough to receive a very good level of education which helped me in seeing the world differently that other Egyptians that are not able to receive high level of education or even any education at all. This also played a big role in shaping my identity in the sense of how i precise different people from different backgrounds and cultures. AUC is a diverse university with students from different backgrounds and cultures so due to my education and knowledge i gained , i am able to an extent to be open minded and accept their way of thinking and living.

Throughout the course, i have learned new topics that i had zero knowledge about. I never really thought about what is identity and how does one know theirs. Also, i always though that when someone asks me about my identity i would take about where i was born and raise, what are my religious beliefs. However, throughput the course i have learned that identity is so much more, it could be based on many different things that vary form one person to the other. I belief that identity is shaped by the different experiences and situation that you go through in you life, like how these situation for example shaped your way of thinking or your personality somehow. Another new and interesting topic that i learned about in class was othering. A part of me always new that its a negative behaviour that most of us atomically do based on our different beliefs and biases yet still i never really took the time to think about it and its effects on different people. After reading the article  by john a. powell and Stephen Menendian, i have realized that it’s a very serious problem that we all need to work on. To automatically build a bias against a certain group of people just because they are from a different background or culture will definitely cause increase in inequality and even cause an increase in political problems.

In most Arab countries there is a bias against divorced women and single moms. Its is believed in our culture that because a woman is divorced that automatically means that she is an easy target for men because she lacks security and love. Also, a lot of Arabs families don’t accept the idea of their daughters getting a divorce. They would prefer that they would live miserably married than divorced because it is believed that it might bring shame for the family. Another bias i face myself is that my parents are divorced so some people specially adults and elders believe that i would grow hating the idea of marriage or ending up getting a divorce also which is actually based on lack of knowledge and false information form their parents. Moreover, in Egypt we have the problem of othering against christians because they are a minority compared to muslims . My friend , who is studying medicine in Ain shams university, was telling me about how her Dr. failed her in the case just because he had bias against christians and he also used to make inappropriate jokes about them.

I always had a bias against dark skinned people since i was a child. I don’t really know the reason behind it but i remember being afraid of them when i was young and always believing that they would harm me. However, i travelled to South Africa and stayed there for 3 weeks so i had to interact with them and even go out them. At first, i was a bit reluctant then throughout my stay i actually found that they are extremely kind ,helpful and they told me about their history. I believe that going on that trip was crucial because it helped me get rid of a bias that existed for no apparent reason at all.

While taking the IAT test, i choose age. The results for me are pretty convincing honestly since it states that i prefer younger people than older which makes a lost of sense because i’m still young so i think i would prefer people closer to me and my age group by default. However, i don’t think that the test is very accurate because its based on your memorization and speed which i don’t think are indicators for bias against certain thing or group of people.

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