Our most esteemed colleagues at the ODE have seen fit to write an article on the Bias Response Team. My understanding is that the BRT exists to listen to victims of bias, counsel and facilitate discussion between the involved parties, and improve sensitivity and positive communication on campus. While the mission of the BRT is commendable, it’s presence is ineffective and redundant, depending on which aspect of the BRT we are focusing on.
Firstly: Counselors have existed for ages, and while some are better than others, and some have different focuses than others, why the need to create a completely separate entity to fulfill this already-fulfilled role?
Secondly: The article notes that BRT has responded to some incidents by facilitating discussion in classes where bias had been reported, or between a ‘perp’ and victim of bias. If the act was an inadvertent and merely insensitive comment, then why couldn’t the ‘victim’ speak to the ‘perp’ personally and just stop the problem right there? Most sensible, sane people will realize their mistake and apologize.
If the perpetrator was making a biased/offensive comment on purpose, then does the BRT really expect a little discussion to actually change anything?
Lastly: Bias. We all have it. It is such a subjective matter, and an act of bias is based purely on one’s perception and construct of the world. I do not see how the BRT expects to respond to subjective matters in an objective way. There is not one person that does not have bias, because we all favor things, groups of people, and ideas, based on our personal experiences. The BRT is designed to ‘break down intolerance’. If anything, people that have experienced discrimination, racism, or offensive behavior are MORE likely to have bias and intolerance towards the type of people that perpetrated the discrimination against them. That is the nature of bias.