Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Implicit Bias

I found this story fascinating and helpful!

Implicit bias has become a key part of the national dialogue on race in America. To learn more about the history of the term, we turn to Mahzarin Banaji, one of the researchers who founded the theory. (From NPR)

Listen or read the transcript here.

In order to just think about where implicit bias comes from, it's a good idea to think about it as a combination of two things. First, our brains - human brains have a certain way in which we go about picking up information, learning it. If I repeatedly see that doctors are male and nurses are female, I'm going to learn that. But the second part to implicit bias is the culture in which we live.

There is a culture that, for whatever reasons, has led to men being surgeons and women being nurses. If I lived in a culture where the opposite happened, I would have the opposite bias. At any moment when we discover things about ourselves or about the world that are new, we have to expect the kind of reaction that we're getting. But the mark of an evolved society is how quickly do we come to terms with it?

How quickly do we realize that finding out that we're biased need not mean that we have to remain biased? So I have great hope just because I look at the history of this country, where we used to be and where we are today, and I see nothing but a path that is on the way towards doing better.

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