Diversity and Inclusion
I read the article by Yasir Billoo on “Implicit Bias and Its Application in the Life of a Lawyer” (March/April). I am not certain if this piece is a scholarly article meant to inform Florida lawyers, or if it is an op/ed intended to give the writer’s opinion. It seems to have characteristics of both, but fails at being either one.
Strikingly, it begins with the writer’s personal experience related to some litigation he was involved in. His implicit bias lead him to believe that witnesses (or some other individuals) were not being truthful because they would not look him directly in the eye when speaking with him. Subsequently learning that the lack of eye contact was a cultural trait, and not a sign of deception, his assumption about the incident had to be implicit bias on his part. If this is the author’s assessment of the incident, be that as it may. What lawyer would base the credibility of a statement solely on whether the person looked them in the eye? Maybe a factor to be considered, but not definitive. Any attorney who has ever interviewed a victim of sexual battery/assault, is readily cognizant that talking about or being questioned about such an incident may lead the person to avoid eye contact. There are many examples that most of us could think of. To classify this as implicit bias on the part of the interviewing attorney if it was considered an indicator of deception, is a stretch.
The article does have some information regarding the Harvard Implicit Association Test, but in reality, rubber stamps it with no critical analysis. Since the test was devised, there are numerous studies that have concluded that its results are subject to many variables, and its accuracy rate significantly questioned. It is simply not as good as first claimed at uncovering “implicit bias.” These subsequent studies by practitioners in the field are too numerous to mention here, but readily available online. It is certainly not a definitive “bright-line” test as the article implies.
If the article is a piece that gives the writer’s personal opinion, then it stands on its own. As lawyers, we can have whatever opinion we want, on anything. If the article is intended to provide Florida lawyers with information regarding a scientific study in an area of psychology that impacts legal decisions, the Journal has the responsibility to accept and publish articles that forward material that informs and discloses everything related to the topic. Even more so when there is fresh, relevant information about this test’s efficacy.
I have often turned to the Journal on topics of law that I was not necessarily familiar with. I have always found that there were articles by practitioners who succinctly, authoritatively, and with meticulous research, explained the topic/issue. I applaud those good works. They are a service to our profession. This op/ed piece should be clearly labeled as such. I see this article as akin to a memorandum of law that omits citations and fails to argue/distinguish contrary law. That is not what lawyers do. Thank you for your consideration.
Robert Fiallo, Miami
In response to articles published in the March/April 2019 edition of The Florida Bar Journal, the “Diversity and Inclusion” (the judo-doctored, feel-good slogan used as a pseudo-proctored, figurative shogun in the isolated elites’ ongoing war on reason) Machiavellian movement is both a moral and logical falsehood. It has society “progressing” by silently regressing from steady, merit-based adulthood that pays off sacrifice to heady, carrot-laced childhood that plays off sad advice.
It is a reverse Robin Hood ruse, the political muse of a motherhood of exclusive clans of cult-like machinations that lack diversity of thought. It purloins from the present day unprivileged and unprotected and promotes with presents and gaiety the privileged ad protected in our crazed counter-King culture.
The steering of this social engineering arc tweaks to tap the break with artifice on those without apt external traits who labor their way up from the bottom for their livelihood. It seeks to wrap the cake with artificiality for those with apt external traits who manage to avoid bottoming out for the likelihood of benefiting from a woke Western priesthood that bedevils brotherhood and worships victimhood.
Jeff Boston, Rockledge