Why do we discriminate? The big factor isn’t overt racism. Rather, it seems to be unconscious bias among whites who believe in equality but act in ways that perpetuate inequality.We have to assume, I think, that our proclivities to hold biases infect our research habits in the same way they affect other aspects of our lives, including how we interact with people who differ from us.
How can we control for bias?
In the context of racial bias, Kristof's argument, in effect, is that simply realizing you have these biases goes a long way to reducing your bias.
He concludes by describing a follow up study of NBA referees, who had been shown previously to penalize African American players at a higher rate than Caucasian players. Once the refs were made aware of their bias, the follow up study showed that their bias had been eliminated. "Awareness reduces bias."
So it seems that some simple level of awareness that we might be biased can be enough to actually reduce bias!
With biostatistics, try not to let the math, the jargon, the models, the symbolism or the protocol cloud the big picture.
The only reason to conduct proper statistical design and analysis of experiments is to control for bias. We follow these design and inference procedures not because they are better than alternative design and inference procedures, but because they make us aware of our innate tendency to be biased.