The “Blindspot” reading discussed stereotypes as unfiltered and unacknowledged biases against individuals. Specifically, the author discussed the costs that have followed the stereotype that “American = White”, sharing the story of Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwanese-American, who was accused of turning over US nuclear secrets to China. He spent time in prison and lost his job following this incident, all because “Americans” thought he was must have connections to another Asian country based on his appearance. The part I thought was interesting was that the author stated that stereotypes are difficult to acknowledge because “they are often put into play without any feeling of personal animus or vengeance”. This reminded me of our class discussion on how to evaluate moral arguments, as I wondered where incidents like this, based on stereotypes, would be evaluated. And for the actors (the white Americans), would that argument have remained seen as moral if not for criticisms of stereotypes? It is examples like these that emphasize the importance of recognizing biases and mindbugs and blindspots to prevent unnoticed discrimination.
I was angered by the role of stereotyping after reading the story of Wen Ho Lee. While he was compensated and released from prison, the judge and the FBI agent were not charged for their role in his accusation. Even if society cannot determine if stereotypes are at play, we must ensure that people are held accountable for breaking their oath to justice.
I think that Wen Ho Lee’s storying brings up an interesting question; Is it immoral to have implicit biases, even though it is out of our control? What happened to Wen Ho Lee is unacceptable, but could it have been stopped?