Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Do you take consultants more seriously than working class parents?

I wrote previously about how with both Brexit and the Charlie Gard case, middle class people in general, easily accept the narrative that the working class are ignorant. This isn't necessarily done maliciously, its just part of unconscious bias. Although Charlie Gard's parents had certain views about the state of their son, and the approach of GOSH, many people have readily seen them as 'ignorant' and 'easily manipulated.' In a similar way, working Brexit voters were portrayed as ignorant and manipulated. Meanwhile, some of the key issues about GOSH, and about Sovereignty (re Brexit),  get ignored.

So today, it interested me to see in the news that a number of hospital consultants at GOSH have in the past had concerns about patient care and senior staff. Will people more readily accept these consultants' views than many working class parents' views about GOSH? For example, when I said in a previous post that 'The automatic assumption that GOSH can do no wrong is troubling.' How did people respond? Did implicit bias play a part in your response? Am I an ignorant working class bloke? A couple of brothers did write to me saying I had misunderstood the Philip's article. Am I manipulated by social media? (As opposed to middle classes being informed by broadsheets) Am I a 'worked up' working class man (as opposed to an enthusiastic middle class man). These are the narratives that are constantly put on the working classes. Now, it might be true, I might be ignorant, manipulated, and worked up, and I might be totally wrong! But the question I want to ask is, 
How do you respond when you hear Dr. Kim a consultant at GOSH say, '"Medical staff have growing concerns over patient care. They feel that Great Ormond Street is not really living up to its name and is living on its reputation."
Do you more readily accept his view? Do you naturally think she is ignorant, manipulated, and worked up? Does she not really understand the situation at GOSH properly? You might say, 'But she works at GOSH, you don't!' That's true, but I have a child who is a regular patient at GOSH. I've also experienced doctors assuming I don't know biology (I studied Kinesiology at University), and that they know my body better than me. I've been misdiagnosed by doctors who haven't listened to me, leading to disastrous consequences. I've also grown up seeing how the State takes away working class children more readily than middle class children. I also studied journalism at Uni (for one term only), and learned about bias and coded language in journalism. I'm not claiming these experiences make my views correct, I'm merely arguing these possibilities of my knowledge base don't get considered with implicit bias. 

If you read my previous post explaining implicit/unconscious bias, you know that its not rational. We don't use the rational part of our brains when we make these judgments. But you can slow down next time, and ask yourself, is there any bias at play here? What if I flip the script? What if I were to imagine a consultant saying what Chris Gard said about his son, would I then take him more seriously? Why? What bias are going on? In what ways do classism, and scientism play a role here? 

What did you think when you read the title of this post? That might reveal bias either way.

For the record, working class people can also have implicit bias against working class people. I'm working class but I'm actually inclined to believe what middle class people say over what working people say! Terrible isn't it! Lets get to know our biases.