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Published on Jun 22, 2011
In which Hank discusses that all too common question and why he doesn't like it and so rarely answers it.
What does the answer tell you? Really? Is it like a blind man asking my skin color? Is it someone trying to legitimize their own beliefs? Is it built into our genes?
Don't get me wrong, we're built to categorize. Being truly exceptional pattern recognizers is one of the reasons why we are the dominant species on the planet. We seek patterns my nature, but it's something that we should work against. When we are going out of our way to pull data points so that we can more easily shove people into little boxes, that's even worse than your normal sort of prejudice.
Frankly, upon meeting someone, I'd rather not know their politics, their religion, their upbringing.
We build our vision of other people from scratch, and when we pull these flawed first impressions from pattern bias, prejudice, and in-group / out-group bias, we do ourselves and those people significant disservice.