The Effects of Bias Essay Example: “Twelve Angry Men”
Favor of one thing over another, usually in an unfair way is bias. Bias can be seen everywhere, from the books we read to everyday life like picking the neighborhood we want to live in. Sometimes bias isn’t shown intentionally, though. Bias normally affects people in a negative way by isolating minorities. Bias affects a person’s choices and behavior, leading to sometimes unforeseen outcomes in society. This bias is developed by how people are raised and their experiences in life.
How ‘Twelve Angry Men’ Depict It
In the book Twelve Angry Men, Juror 10 has a bias against the defendant. “These people are multiplying. That kid on trial, his type, they’re multiplying five times as fast as we are. That’s the statistic. Five times. And they are wild animals. They’re against us, they hate us, they want to destroy us (Rose, 65).” Even though the race of the defendant is never mentioned, it can be inferred. With that in mind, the reader can see that Juror 10 has a bias against the defendant.
This will make the trial of the boy unfair since the juror isn’t just judging the facts of the case. The bias that Juror 10 has probably didn’t form overnight. “Many biases are formed throughout life and held at the subconscious level, mainly through societal and parental conditioning (Agarwal, 1).” This supports the point that most biases aren’t formed overnight, that they instead take a long time. Juror 10’s bias was most likely formed by his experiences in life and the way his parents raised him. His bias led to a prolonged trial that almost wrongfully convicted an innocent man of murder.
Bias doesn’t necessarily have to be against a group of people. “This better be fast. I got tickets to a ballgame tonight. Yankees -- Cleveland (Rose, 9).” This, said by Juror 7, shows that he favors the ballgame over the trial. This leads him to not care what happens in the trial, even if someone gets wrongfully convicted, just because he wants to be at the ballgame. Juror 7 makes his bias very well known to the other jurors and the readers.
“We need to examine our biases and be mindful of our hidden prejudices and the way they manifest themselves in words and actions (Agarwal, 2).” Exhibited by the previous quote, people should be careful of the biases they make because it can harm others. This directly relates to what Juror 7 was doing in the trial. The reader could clearly see that he didn’t care what happened to the boy, whether the verdict was right or wrong; all he cared about was getting out of that jury room. “Listen, I'll tell you something. I'm a little sick of this whole thing already. We're getting nowhere fast.
Let's break it up and go home. I'm changing my vote to not guilty (Rose, 26).” Juror 7 changed his vote to not guilty, not based on the evidence of the case, but based on the fact that he wanted to go home.
The bias that people have isn’t always evident to them that they have it. For example, Juror 3 had bias in the trial, but he didn’t realize he had that bias until someone else pointed it out to him. “The phrase was ‘I’m gonna kill you.’ That’s what he said. To his own father. I don’t care what kind of man that was. It was his father. That goddamn rotten kid. I know him. What they’re like. What they do to you. How they kill you everyday. My god, don’t you see? How come I’m the only one who sees? Jeez, I can feel that knife goin’ in (Rose, 72).”
The past experiences that Juror 3 went through with his son help to shape the bias that he has. Juror 3 hasn’t had a great relationship with his son so this carries over into what he thinks of the boy on trial. Juror 3 blames his son for a lot of the problems that he has. Juror 3 thinks the boy on trial is just like his boy, a problem causer. “Implicit bias refers to attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious matter (Grinberg, 1).” As apparent from the previous quote, implicit bias is a bias that someone has, but doesn’t know they have. This is the type of bias that Juror 3 has because it affected everything he said and did in the jury room, but he was unaware until it was pointed out.
Bias affects everything a person does, from their choices to their behavior. This bias isn’t developed on its own or quickly, though. Bias is developed over a long time influenced by how someone was raised and their life experiences. Bias tends to be a negative thing because it generally involves excluding a minority. Even though some people are aware of their biases, others are not. These biases, whether realized or not, affect everything people do.
Agarwal, Pragya. “Unconscious Bias: How It Affects Us More than We Know.” Business - Forbes.com, 3 Dec. 2018.
Grinsberg, Emanuella. “4 Ways You Might Be Displaying Hidden Bias in Everyday Life.” CNN, 25 Nov. 2015.
Rose, Reginald. Twelve Angry Men. W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library, 2017.