Are you biased or prejudiced? Do you tend to lean toward one way most all the time without really looking at what’s in front of you? Or are you always siding with a certain political party? I mean always. How about always rooting for the supposed underdog? Or perhaps, always rooting against the police or always sticking up for a certain way even when there’s evidence to the contrary?
I suppose we all have been biased in life at some time or an other and I suppose it’s normal to have some bias and prejudice in us all. After all, we’re human, fallible and not perfect. But I wonder how many of us are prejudiced and biased and think that we are not.
In my 10 years of private investigation, I’ve seen many things. However, one of the most concerning things I’ve seen are not criminals or liars under investigation because we all know there are bad people and weird people; that’s a given, but what really concerns me is investigators whom are biased and prejudiced. I mean people who investigate something or someone and right from the get go, have preconceived ideas. Some of these ideas are about cops involved in a case, or a certain race involved, or the wealth of the individual involved or a political party.
As an example, some will think: Yeah, cops involved—they’re all bad—they’re all shady. Or, if there are rich people in the mix, some will think, they all cheat or they all step on the little guy. And we can go on and on here but you get where I’m coming from. As an ex-cop, I’ve been pigeonholed by some, initially, that I would take a cops side in a case. That my perspective would be with them. Conversely, I’ve seen professional investigators take immediate negative preconceived ideas against cops because they have biased and prejudiced views about police.
My investigator life is winding down now and I only do a few cases and only work with entrenched clients or referrals. But I still do not look at any case in a preconceived way. I never look at a cop as bad or good. And I will not hire or keep any investigator who approaches any case other than with a complete blank slate. I’ve had investigators who were so entrenched in their views that you’d have to beat them over the head with contrary evidence. Even then, they’d shrug and say, okay, I guess this time, that’s the way it is.
Now, there are some professional investigators and witnesses for cases in our system of justice who have one way of thinking and testifying. Some call them professional witnesses. They testify for one side of a case, pretty much all of the time. I am not one of those. My clients want to find the truth and I can’t afford bigots or prejudiced investigators messing it up.
Imagine your daughter, husband or close friend who may be a cop, may be black, rich, or perhaps a Republican and an investigator is biased or prejudiced towards them. Imagine, that they taint an investigation on your relative or friend. Not by lying, but by only really following leads that coincide with his or her preconceived beliefs. Now, imagine that your loved one gets charged with a crime. Or that they lose their job or get sued for money. Or they lose custody of their kids or something else bad occurs to them because the powers that be, were biased or prejudiced toward them.
This happens every day and it’s wrong. And please don’t believe it only happens by the government against average people. It happens everywhere and by people who like to think of themselves as helping the underdog or downtrodden. Getting it wrong is just that: wrong. And getting it wrong usually hurts someone.
I often see seemingly good people pigeonhole complete groups of people as being bad. Further, that they think that they’re doing something good in life because they’re helping them out. They’re wrong. How could they really be helping if they really do not know the truth about them, their lives, their behavior and actions? Helping people and sticking up for people because you wrongly believe that they’re a certain way or are in a certain plight in life when you are wrong will not help anything. In fact, it will perpetuate wrong and more than likely, will not help anyone.
Play along with me for another second. Imagine, having a clean slate about everything. A clean slate about homosexuals, democrats, republicans, blacks, rich and homeless people etc. Just think how easy it would be to really discern these groups without having all the labeling of them in the mix. How grand it would be to approach things that way. And how easy it would be to get to their truth.
I believe that if we want to see what is really happening around us we should keep our glass at least half-full. Talk and listen to people who think differently than us. Listen closely to EVERYONE as they will enlighten us. Something I heard many years ago from a much smarter man than me was that we can learn from the devil himself. Meaning, everyone can help us see something and enlighten us. Everyone.
The fact is that some people will never change their biased thinking. Perhaps never is too strong of a word because anyone can change but many people do not want to change their ways. They fool themselves into thinking that they are open minded. And the reason for this is because so many have personal battles that they are waging and they are not really talking about the facts of a situation or group of people but what it means to them in regards to their hangups. How it coincides with their “issues”. These people need to stay away from investigating in any sense where individuals rights are in play. They are blind as a bat in some ways. These people often whine all day about the country, religions or certain groups of people no matter what facts may contradict them.
Truth can come to us all. It ultimately is inside us. It may come from others but it has to be lit inside ourselves and then it grows from there. Truth is fact. We need to stand up, listen and see how things really are. We do not have to be sheep and follow group-think of those who may speak the loudest, share similar life problems, or those who may have control of the podium, even if they appear to be nice or “helpful”‘people. Listen to everyone, treat everyone’s opinions as perhaps having some validity and then discern for yourself and let truth appear. And then, importantly, let yourself do the right thing.
Steve's a three-time survivor of violence in his youth and was an award winning police officer.
For several years, Steve also did radio political and current event commentary and taught college Criminal Justice. He is the former host of the long running 'The Kovacs Perspective' Internet radio talk show.
Presently, Steve is the owner and Managing Director of one of the oldest martial art schools in Ohio, 'The Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense'.
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