Bias Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Instructor: David Wilson

David has taught college history and holds an MA in history.

Humans tend to assign certain qualities to other people, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. This is known as bias, and it can affect everything from our relations to our work to our lives. Learn about bias and its sources in this lesson.

First Impressions

How many times have you thought that all the problems in the world could go away if people just understood what you understand? Because there are so many different points of view (one for every person in the world!), we all look at the same things from different angles. And the way we understand things is affected by bias, which is our perception of the way things are or should be, even if it's not totally accurate. For example, you might be biased to think that another student who has dirty, torn clothes might be from a poor family, when maybe they just had an accident that day or spilled their lunch on their shirt.

Since money is such an important part of our society, we tend to have biases about people who do not have any
Begging girl

Bias and Gender

A lot of our biases tend to be about gender. For example, if you had to pick the best athlete in your class, you'd probably pick a boy. If you had to pick the most helpful person in your class, you'd probably pick a girl. Biases about gender come from pre-formed expectations about the differences between men and women, and they're some of the most common in our society. We even use them to be funny: think about a commercial you've seen where the dad doesn't understand how to do something, so he has to buy something or hire someone.

Who do you think this man is talking to, his son or his daughter? What makes you think that?
Idealized father and son image

One way gender bias has a major impact on our society is with regard to work. While women can do nearly every job that men can, many are paid less than men. On average, for every dollar that men make, women make about 73 cents. Women even tend to ask for less money in job interviews than men do!

Bias and Race

Biases often form when people don't interact as much with people who are different from them. This happens a lot with race - since people of one race may not have much interaction with people of another race, bias often comes up between white, black, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American persons when they do come into contact with one another. This is often called prejudice, which means judging someone without knowing their background. Racial biases may affect how people are treated: for example, a bias exists where black people are thought to feel less pain, so doctors give them less medicine for pain.

Some of our biases about race are a legacy of slavery
Slavery image

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