Biases For/Against Institutions

After numerous controversial police shootings in 2013, two political groups rose to the forefront of activism. First Black Lives Matter began to protest police brutality towards black Americans, and later the Blue Lives Matter movement rose in support of police. Both movements represented the extreme ends of the issue, but these starkly contrasting attitudes are not unique to the topic of political injustice.

This week, we examine biases towards institutions. Are police officers guardians of morality or coldblooded, tyrannical murderers? Are all corporations greedy, evil institutions, or are they well-intentioned, publicly beneficial organizations? Are our politicians corrupt to the core, or are they valiant warriors who represent our best interests?

As with most things, the truth likely doesn’t lie on the extremes, but why do we form such beliefs? Is it useful to view institutions in this way? Is there a more nuanced, effective approach to formulating our viewpoints?