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Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism


Understanding Implicit Bias and Its Consequences

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” (Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Ohio State University).

We all hold implicit biases, many of which are positive. However, we all also have negative implicit biases that unwittingly contribute to structural inequalities and inequities. Over a person's lifetime, implicit bias contributes to a negative impact on education, work and economic opportunities and perpetuates a cycle of economic oppression.  

What are your implicit biases?

Taking the Implicit Association Tests (IATs), created by Harvard University’s Project Implicit, can be a helpful way in recognizing these unconscious biases: 

There is no quick fix: If implicit bias occurs at the unconscious level, what can we do to reduce it and its negative impact on our community and world? There is no easy answer or quick fix to this question, but we start making a difference by

  • asking ourselves difficult questions about our beliefs;
  • questioning the reasons behind the decisions we make, then restructuring decision-making processes to reduce biases;
  • continuing to learn about implicit bias and structural inequalities; and
  • developing the habit of noticing and countering biases and stereotypes.

Check out the resources on the next tab to get started.

Here are some resources to get started: