Original docs attached below – have copied and pasted them here for ease of reading. Thank you to Katie Weidling and AFSME for these documents.
Here is to listening, learning and being open to sitting in discomfort while we work together to improve our communities ❤️
Beyond Bias: An Introduction to Implicit Bias
Defining Implicit Bias
Also known as implicit social cognition, implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness. Rather, implicit biases are not accessible through introspection.
The implicit associations we harbor in our subconscious cause us to have feelings and attitudes about other people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance. These associations develop over the course of a lifetime beginning at a very early age through exposure to direct and indirect messages. In addition to early life experiences, the media and news programming are often-cited origins of implicit associations.
A Few Key Characteristics of Implicit Biases
- Implicit biases are pervasive. Everyone possesses them, even people with avowed commitments to impartiality such as judges.
- Implicit and explicit biases are related but distinct mental constructs. They are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce each other.
- The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
- We generally tend to hold implicit biases that favor our own ingroup, though research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against our ingroup.
- Implicit biases are malleable. Our brains are incredibly complex, and the implicit associations that we have formed can be gradually unlearned through a variety of debiasing techniques.
Source: Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2015
8 STRATEGIES TO REDUCE/INTERRUPT BIAS
STRATEGY # 1 – Increase Your Awareness
- Take the Implicit Association Test (IAT) at www.withinourlifetime.net OR http://www.implicit.harvard.edu.
STRATEGY # 2 – Stereotype Replacement – a) recognize when you’re having a stereotypic thought (or when you observe stereotypic portrayals in society; b) identify the factors behind the thought/portrayal; c) replace the stereotype with a non-stereotypic response.
- Recognize when stereotypes are activated: What are the feelings – physiological signs – that you have when you spend time with and/or around people with whom you have “chemistry;” people with whom you “click?” What are the feelings when you’re with and/or around people who are the opposite?
STRATEGY # 3 – Counter-Stereotypic Imaging – imagine in detail a person who counters the stereotype. Alternatively, consider using photos or images to counter existing stereotypes.
- Who’s a person in your work and/or personal life that represents the opposite of the stereotype? What’s the person’s name? What are three characteristics/qualities about the person that counter the stereotype about their group?
- What pictures, photos, symbols can you hang on the wall in the common space and/or program space to counter negative stereotypes about the communities you serve and/or other marginalized groups?
STRATEGY # 4 – Practice Individuation – do regular, in-person, one-on-one meetings with people who: a) you are prone to be biased against and/or; b) who have a lived experience different than your own. The goal is to use individual characteristics (versus generalizations) to inform our judgment.
- List 3 to 5 people who are (or you perceive to be) “different” from you with respect to race, ethnicity, culture, lived experience, etc. Conduct a 30 to 60 minute, in-person meeting with each person.
- Example — AFSCME Strong campaign – training 5% of its members to engage another 80% “one conversation at a time.”
STRATEGY # 5 — Practice Perspective Taking – find creative – and respectful — ways to experience what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a member of a stereotyped or marginalized group.
- Example — Staff of a city-wide organization that works with homeless families deciding to spend a night living on the “streets” to better understand what it’s like to be homeless;
- Example — Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker living on food stamps for a week.
STRATEGY # 6 — Do Inter-group Work – Create and/or join a dialogue group; organize a “brown bag” series; ultimately, the goal is to create opportunities for diverse groups of people to engage in positive contact over an extended period of time.
- Example — National Park Service (NPS) Allies for Inclusion Program; training NPS staff to be dialogue facilitators; using 60-90 minute monthly “brown bags” as the strategy.
STRATEGY # 7 – IMPROVE DECISION-MAKING. Improve decision-making by slowing down and removing discretion and ambiguity from decision-making.
Example — Courts Catalyzing Change “bench card” or checklist for judges. See excerpt below:
- What assumptions have I made about the cultural identity, genders, and background of this family?
- What evidence has supported every conclusion I have drawn, and how have I challenged unsupported assumptions?”
STRATEGY # 8 — PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
- Shifting behavior and culture (individual and organization) requires sustained practice, repetition and feedback.
Note – Several of the above strategies are adapted from “Breaking the Bias Habit: A Workshop to Promote Gender Equity” — Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute at University of Wisconsin-Madison
Anti-Racist – Links to a podcast that might be helpful + a link to Ibram Kendi’s site where he has written some helpful books on this topic ;). If you are even still reading at this point in the post, thanks and rock on w/ yer bad self.
Original Document Links: