A lot of the discussion (which I'm glad is still happening) that's been going on about double-blind reviewing has been making assumptions that we would know if there was bias (against women, unknown authors, whatever) and that part of the reason that this discussion is coming up is because these authors perceive this bias and are cranky about it. That is not my opinion. I've never perceived any bias and have no personal grievance against the process. In fact, the reviews that I've gotten have shown that the reviewers truly read and thought about my papers and took time to write thoughtful feedback. I deeply appreciate their efforts. The problem is that bias is often unperceived. I include my own biases in this, and work hard to recognize them in myself. Still, I believe that often bias is unconscious.
When I was taking an upper level math seminar in my sophomore year of college, there were two seniors in the small class who stood out clearly above the rest - one guy and one girl. When she presented her solutions to homework problems, it was as if we were hearing a guest lecturer. Every point was covered. Her presentation was organized. Her math was flawless. She was able to answer our questions precisely and in a way so that we could understand. The guy was a different story. It was clear that he didn't always do the work beforehand. Still, when he presented, after some staring into space and thinking on his feet, the correct solution would appear on the board. He explained it clearly and answered questions, sometimes finding - and fixing - flaws along the way. I realized one day, when talking to a friend about the class, that I considered him to be the more brilliant of the two, ascribing to her the "female" qualities of organization and assuming that her flawless performances were due to advance planning and not to her mathematical ability, while his successes were a sign of his brilliance. This assumption is sexist. I recognized my bias, my internalized sexism if you will, only after most of the semester had passed.
I will not believe you if you claim that you are never biased.
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