Understanding the difference between bias vs unbiased is a very important distinction for any reader. To be fair, a bias or prejudice is a type of opinion or judgment that is not impartial. Unbiased means to have no personal interest in the opinions you are expressing, being open-minded and receptive to new ideas from others.
It’s easy for readers to fall into the trap of understanding what bias means as an unbiased term, but it’s important to know that these words differ in a meaning entirely – as does how they are defined by those who use them.
So… what is bias?
Bias is a term used to describe a mental attitude towards some topic, usually, one that is held by all individuals in some form. Bias is first and foremost about an opinion or belief.
For example, you had your opinion of whether or not you had apple pie for dessert at your favourite restaurant this weekend, but let’s say the waitress came by with the dessert menu and there was no apple pie on it. What’s your attitude of the waitress? If you’re like most people, you’ll think the waitress was biased against apple pie and holds a bias against apple pie because she chose not to serve it. This is a problem with people misunderstanding what bias means.
What does it mean to be unbiased?
Being unbiased is a term used to describe a person who considers all points of view before he or she formulates his or her own opinion. To be unbiased is to be open-minded. You don’t show bias in being open-minded.
In other words, when you’re unbiased, you have the ability to keep an open mind when you’re forming your opinion of something or someone. An unbiased person is someone who is able to not be biased.
What’s the difference between bias vs unbiased?
We’ve given you a clear understanding of bias vs unbiased. So to sum it all up, the main difference is that bias is an opinion, while unbiased is an attitude of open-mindedness.
It’s important for readers to realize that these two terms are not the same thing. Bias, in many cases, is incorrectly associated with unbiased. It’s up to the reader to understand the difference in these terms so they can recognize when bias is being used incorrectly when it should be unbiased, and vice versa.
Can someone truly be unbiased?
Being unbiased is difficult. The dictionary definition of bias is “a fixed or pronounced opinion, belief, or attitude.” It implies that impartiality is possible, but it takes a lot of effort (and skill) to keep an open mind and actually be unbiased.
It’s not easy to always see things from another’s point of view. It takes a lot of time and effort to be objective. Anyone can make a decision based on their experiences, but it takes a lot of discipline to do so in a fair and balanced way.
Even in the use of language, bias is inevitable because the root word of ‘bias’ comes from the Latin ‘bias’ which means “slanting,” in reference to a line or surface that is not in the direction of another. In other words, there’s no such thing as being completely unbiased when you have your own opinion.
Common Examples of Bias
Everyone has bias. It’s difficult to remove bias altogether, but you can control the bias in your speech and in your writing. Some of the most common examples of bias are:
There’s a big difference between bias and favouritism. Favouritism is when you have an opinion about people in your family, friends, colleagues, or your boss, but favouritism is a problem in communication. You can have a bias towards someone without being favourably inclined towards their opinions or behaviour. In order to be unbiased, you can’t show favouritism at all.
2. Media Bias
In the most common sense, bias is found in the mass media. In this case, bias refers to a tendency to present or report news in a way that favours one side of an issue over another. Media bias can be unintentional or intentional with individual media outlets, but it has been a problem since the beginning of time with newspapers and journalism. A good example of media bias is illustrated by CNN’s role as a news provider during the 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks. CNN was accused of being biased against Muslims when it previously banned the words “terrorist” and “Taliban” from its broadcasts in order to avoid offending Muslims in the Middle East.
3. Bad Weather
Bias in the weather is a term used when people think that bad weather is caused by something other than bad weather. For example, you might be biased towards thinking there’s a connection between low pollen counts and asthma attacks. This is not a literal example of bias, but it can be an example of a bias that happens when others don’t agree with your perspective on a subject.
Prejudice means “a judgment or opinion formed before encountering the individual, thing, or idea.” This is similar to bias because the people who are prejudiced feel that their opinions are correct and based on evidence. Prejudice can be situational (based on one specific thing) or systematic (based on an entire group of individuals). Prejudiced people can hold racist views, gender prejudice, age-based prejudice, etc. These are all types of bias.
Discrimination is defined as “the action or practice of treating a person or group of people differently from another either because of race, gender, age, or another characteristic.” Discrimination is essentially prejudice taken to the next level. When you’re prejudiced against someone, your actions and opinions and based on that one single person and their specific traits (gender, age). When you discriminate against someone, it can be towards an entire group of people with similar characteristics.