What Is Systemic Bias?

Systemic bias refers to the tendency of an institution to prefer or predict one outcome over another based on previous perceptions of truth. A systemic bias differs from a systematic bias in that a systemic bias generally refers to human institutions and organizations rather than technological ones. Systematic bias refer to mathematical errors that occur randomly.

A systemic bias occurs when a human subject comes to a general conclusion regarding a person or problem based on evidence that is unfair or unequally deliberated in some way. For example, affirmative action is a national policy designed to combat the systemic bias of discrimination based on race or sex. Affirmative action corrects this systemic bias by requiring companies to maintain a certain number of individuals from particular groups. Individuals maintain their own systemic biases through their loyalties to certain ideologies or beliefs. Large organizations are often criticized for maintain systemic biases that they pull profit from while exploiting workers under certain conditions. The danger of bias is its invisibility. Most individuals, institutions, organizations and corporations are unaware of the systemic biases that they promote. The largest danger that occurs when a systemic bias is employed is the mistreatment of human beings for conditions they are unable to control.