What are some of the biases you’re thinking of here?
This is a tough question to answer properly, both because it is complicated and because I think not everyone will like the answer. There is a short answer and a long answer.
Here is the short answer. I’ll put the long answer in a different comment.
Refer to Sanjay’s statement above
There are some who would argue that you can’t tackle such a structural issue without looking at yourselves too, and understanding your own perspectives, biases and privileges...But I worried that tackling the topic of racism without even mentioning the risk that this might be a problem risked seeming over-confident.
At time of writing, this is sitting at negative-5 karma. Maybe it won’t stay there, but this innocuous comment was sufficiently controversial that it’s there now. Why is that? Is anything written there wrong? I think it’s a very mild comment pointing out an obviously true fact—that a communities should also be self-reflective and self-critical when discussing structural racism. Normally EAs love self-critical, skeptical behavior. What is different here? Even people who believe that “all people matter equally” and “racism is bad” are still very resistant to having self-critical discussions about it.
I think that understanding the psychology of defensiveness surrounding the response to comments such as this one is the key to understanding the sorts of biases I’m talking about here. (And to be clear—I don’t think this push back against this line of criticism is specific to the EA community, I think the EA community is responding as any demographically similar group would...meaning, this is general civilizational inadequacy at work, not something about EA in particular)