Data: Objective, Separate, but not

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Identity |

objective, separate, but not

Perhaps it’s our schooling. Perhaps it’s the scientific method. Or perhaps something else. Whatever it is, we tend to view data as objective and something separate from who we are. These are partly true but mostly not.

Data is a reflection of reality so in that way is objective,  but reality itself is unequal, bias, unjust.  Life is not equal.  WE do not all arrive in the present with equal power or privilege. The data reflects that back to us.  When we capture data, we capture about life as it is in the here and now.  So yes, most CEOs are white men, however this does not mean only. White men can be CEOs.  

And we are human.  We bring to life our past experiences which shape how we see, feel, experience life today.  There is even something called confirmation bias which says our brains seek out information or data or stimulus to confirm what we already believe AND disregards the information or stimulus that is contrary to it.  

Data is a reflection of life.  Therefore data is biased and unequal just as life is.

And we also try to separate data about a person from that person. The data we collect about a person is ours not theirs. So we can sell it or use it how we wish. It is treated as separate and distinct from them. But we don’t do the same with skills or competencies – things that others have taught me. My ability to skate, run, write, and so on are not seen as separate from me, but rather a part of me. But we treat data as separate, which enables us to do all kinds of things with it without my permission.

If data about a person is viewed as part of the person, does that change how we act? How we approach or treat it?

Photo by Nam Hoang


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