Implicit Bias Awareness Training

WHAT IS UNCONSCIOUS/ IMPLICIT BIAS?

Our individual experiences inform how we view the world around us, and those views do hold hidden biases. In perceiving other people it is common for our brains to make mistakes without us even realizing we are doing so. According to Professor John A. Powell of the University of California at Berkeley, only 2% of our emotional cognition is conscious; the remainder lives in our unconscious networks, where implicit bias resides. This research demonstrates that most people hold unconscious biases that influence our assumptions and perceptions of others. Implicit bias refers to the unconscious attitudes, expectations and/or assumptions about physical or social characteristics of those around us. These are dictated by stereotypes about people’s skin color, gender, age, ethnicity, physical ability or sexual orientation. However, it is important to acknowledge that most people aim to be fair and inclusive and yet human beings still apply unfair biases unintentionally. And implicit biases often stand in opposition to a person’s stated belief. As an example, a male employer believes he advocates for women in the workplace but his unconscious assumptions drive actions that form a glass ceiling over a woman’s achievements. Many actions resulting from holding unconscious biases will reduce the quality of any organization and/or relationship and will create an unfair and destructive environment.

THE EFFECTS OF UNACKNOWLEDGED BIASES

We live in a time where there is widespread lack of civility, where many people have forgotten the power or kindness and respect. Not only do many of us not know our neighbors, we fear them. We make up stories about people based on stereotypes before we actually know them. Ignorance and pervasive apathy are in abundance and we live in fear of terrorism and the paranoia it produces. Implicit biases are at the root of the above-mentioned ills and many more. There are benefits to discovering our hidden biases as we begin to realize how united we are in our common humanity. We are reminded that “us” and “them” does not mean us vs. them. Awareness of what may be hidden in our consciousness helps us welcome the stranger, realizing that they we have much to learn from one another.

EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO SELF AWARENESS

Education has long been the key to changing negative attitudes about others. While our experience is what our brains use to process information and come to a determination, education provokes the mind into reconciling differing ideas and assumptions. In holding the tension between what we “know” and the willingness to welcome new information creates more equity for all. When we question our inner biases our fears begin to diminish and our empathy deepens for “other”.

Implicit bias training is not intended to eliminate implicit bias, as that is impossible. However, the goal is to reduce the impact of implicit bias on people’s behavior by making people aware of the existence of unconscious bias and to encourage them to consciously evaluate their assumptions and attitudes about others.

Training Components:

  • Defining Implicit Bias

  • How Implicit Bias affects Behavior

  • Identifying Unconscious Biases

  • How to Mitigate Unconscious Bias

Conversational Training Module:

An effective and memorable training will use non-confrontational and participatory methods to raise awareness of the importance of acknowledging personal biases. These proven conversational leadership styles create a space for learning in a way that other educational formats cannot. It becomes a living network of collaborative dialogue around questions that matter. Some example questions are:

  • When was a time “you did not see that coming”?

  • When was a time you were the recipient of unconscious bias?

  • When have you been “mistaken” about someone?

This co-operative learning module facilitates a participative leadership style that welcomes and listens to diverse viewpoints, maximizes participation and creative cooperation. Participatory/Conversational Leadership trainings use these fundamental components:

  • Intentionality to foster learning conversations that create new possibilities.

  • There is a compelling interest, theme and/or purpose when people attend.

  • Focused discussions around specifically crafted and thought-provoking questions to inspire creative conversations connecting diverse perspectives.

  • The environment is made comfortable and welcoming.

  • The intent is to bring forward the collective intelligence of the group by cross-pollinating ideas, inspirations and insights.

  • There is the assumption that attendees will be respectful of diverse perspectives and people can freely share their thoughts without judging or being judged.

Most people are honest and connected to the heart of common humanity and unaware of their own biased tendencies. Presenting Implicit Bias Trainings, using participatory training modules, changes awareness of and accountability for unconscious bias. It reduces the barriers to fairness and equity and creates peaceful and creative environments for individuals, communities and businesses.

Implicit Bias Training Outcomes:

  • Attendees will have a broader understanding of Implicit Bias and it’s negative impacts on self and other.

  • An unraveling of personal hidden biases and their origins.

  • Guidelines for personal accountability in becoming more aware.

  • Commitment steps to Implicit Bias prevention.

“Prejudice is born in ignorance. Acceptance is born in Education.”