Professor K.C. Cole in LA Times op-ed: Assumptions can be corrected

The Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed article by journalism professor K.C. Cole about society's tendency to assume that all CEOs, doctors and other professionals are white males because that is the “default assumption.”

“Default assumptions are great fodder for fooling people, a type of illusion that catches the brain in the act of jumping to conclusions,” Cole said.

Cole explained that anyone who is not a white man has difficulty pursuing professional careers because companies are programmed to hire this standard type of employee.

“Having default assumptions doesn't make us bad, just human,” Cole said. “We can't get rid of them entirely. But we can recognize how they skew our judgment and take steps to mitigate the problem and even correct for it, just as you correct when you know your car pulls to the right.”

Cole has previously worked as a science writer for the Los Angeles Times. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Washington Post and she is the author of eight non-fiction science books.