Often the war against misinformation is fought through fact checking. CFIC frequently brings you articles about the importance of evaluating your media source (for example, see Research before you Research – Predatory Journals and Fighting Misinformation). However, sometimes the defence of critical thinking must be fought by identifying personal biases in order to properly evaluate the proposition someone presents.
When faced with a known bigot who stated that there was a Native American tribe (language has been altered from original discussion) in which each of the members received $84,000 per year for doing nothing, my response of “Not everything you read on the Internet is true, you know?”, while accurate, was misplaced. In fact, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Indian Reservation does provide $1.08 million each year to all 480 members.
At issue was my own agenda (wishing to discredit a bigot) and the bigot’s misrepresentation of the facts. His implication (whether intended or the result of my misinterpretation) was that these individuals were receiving this money for no reason. I was imagining the rest of the conversation with his like-minded cronies about unemployment, laziness, and left-wing governments.
Often the story may be true, but thinking critically about the situation may put a new spin on age-old biases. In this case, the real story is that this tribe opened a casino and then wisely invested the profits. Rather than being seen as a negative, this should be seen as a sign of success. The correct response in this case (and many others) should have been “Good for them!”
Note: This article is not evaluating the cost-benefit or morality of raising money through gambling, which can have negative consequences, and is over-represented in some minority populations, including First Nations.