How just one dress revealed our electoral prejudices: A political primer

Lupita-nyongo's stolen pearl dress Science and dress colorOn Feburary 26, 2015, two dresses took over the internet.

The first was Lupita’s Nuyong’o’s sea of pearls, wonder. But sadly, after the Oscars, Lupita’s pearly prance disappeared from her Hollywood hotel room, likely to some back-alley sweat-shop where it was knifed into giving birth to thousands of pearl rings, earrings, and necklaces.  [Update:  Thief discovered the pearls were “costume” pearls, and returned the dress.]

However, the second dress, while not as pretty as pearls, demonstrated its weight in diamonds, having struck gold (to mix a metaphor) by revealing in the privacy of our own home, our prejudices.

The short version?  Everyone was absolutely sure they knew the color of the dress.  One of  three choices —————->

And everyone one was correct, depending on their filter.  This was the Science behind the color of the dress.

My thought was:  Jackpot!  As people on Twitter constantly scream President Obama is a Fascist, it seemed timely to provide not just the difference between a liberal an a fascist, as defined (below) while knowing many don’t want to know, given their “confirmation bias”  (more on “Confirmation bias” later), and how people come to filter their lens in the first place.  Sometimes unwittingly.


Fascism | Defined

A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all …

Liberalism| Defined

An ideology that has a preference for self-government in personal matters and central decision-making on economics. They want government to serve the disadvantaged in the name of fairness. Leftists tolerate social diversity, but work for economic equality.

Publicly funded education, progressive income taxes, and women’s voting rights all originated from the ideas of liberalism.


The Backfire Effect 

There’s lots to know about The Backfire Effect.  In a post on the blog You Are Not So Smart, journalist David McRaney offered a helpful one-sentence definition of the backfire effect:

“When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.”

McRaney delved further into the backfire effect in his book, You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself. He offered this summary of how it manifests itself in our minds and actions:

 Once something is added to your collection of beliefs, you protect it from harm. You do this instinctively and unconsciously when confronted with attitude-inconsistent information. Just as confirmation bias shields you when you actively seek information, the backfire effect defends you when the information seeks you, when it blindsides you. Coming or going, you stick to your beliefs instead of questioning them. When someone tries to correct you, tries to dilute your misconceptions, it backfires and strengthens those misconceptions instead. 

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the process by which we cherry-pick data to support what we believe. If we are convinced of an outcome, we will pay more attention to the data points and information that support it. Our minds, in effect, are made up and everything we see and hear conforms to this idea. It’s tunnel vision.

A paper published in the “Review of General Psychology”defined it as “the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations, or a hypothesis in hand.”  (Who doesn’t do that?)

One Wall Street Journal article translated the practice for the business world in which the reporter added:

“In short, your own mind acts like a compulsive yes-man who echoes whatever you want to believe.”

Confirmation bias makes us blind to contradictory evidence and facts. For journalists, it often manifests itself as an unwillingness to pay attention to facts and information that go against our predetermined angle for a story.

Motivated Reasoning

Psychologist Leon Festinger wrote,

“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.”

Confirmation bias is why I know chocolate is a salad.  Chocolate is saladIt really is and I can prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

See?  I proved it.

However, there are some biases one simply cannot overcome.

Bias so ingrained, that nothing, including a Harvard education, can foster, well, reality.

Rep. Tom Cotton proves that.  He may be Exhibit A in not getting the basics right.

Arkansas Representative Tom Cotton

Harvard educated Tom Cotton’s first mistake is believing women exist to please men.

That Representative  Tom Cotton’s belief system means men are to be pleased is his base point – and something even a Harvard education, proves cannot overcome.  Cotton’s a closed mind.

Perhaps he could petition Harvard  for a refund.

So the problem for Rep. Cotton, remains.  It’s women.  If only we women would behave.

Like Cotton, some elected officials may not be equipped to deal with the fact our founders specifically exited England because of forced religion.  This explains why our Founding Fathers wanted freedom from religion.  America is not “Baptist Nation.”  A nation founded on one religion explains the American Revolution.

Still, there are some women who believe men should be in charge. Their Bible tells them so.  This means they follow their Bible instead of our laws.  They either do not get not everyone believes as they do and also, are not God’s earthly representatives.

Judge Kurt Eisgruber fans - Republican women supporting rapist friendly judge


But what it does mean is these women will sell out other women who were raped and who supported Indiana Judge Kurt Eisgruber who said the rape victim just needed to get over it, and move on; in a New York minute.  Judge Eisgruber’s lecture to the victim won ole Kurt a segment on national news. But that Indiana women, supported this rapist friendly cretin is reason enough to never live in Indiana.

Wait.  But what about the dress!

Oh yeah, full circle.  The two women who began the internet dress sensation were interviewed.  It began as a conversation about what a bride’s mother wore to her daughter’s wedding. The details are here.  And by the way, the dress is blue.



About bonnie russell

It's not about’s always about people.
This entry was posted in Government, Media, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.