by Natalie Spriggs, Youth Programs Director
Lately, “implicit bias” is a buzz term that has popped up in articles and social media. Most folks know what bias is, but implicit biases are those biases that are hidden; one may not necessarily be aware of. Peace Learning Center has taken on tackling the issues around implicit bias. We have created a 4-Hour long workshop that helps people look inside themselves, figuring out what implicit biases one may have as well as analyzing gatekeepers and how this affects the daily work folks do.
Peace Learning Center has led many of these implicit bias workshops with all sorts of people. Of course when something is hidden finding it can always be a challenge. Homework is given before these workshops: the Harvard implicit bias surveys. There are several different ways to uncover implicit bias. This is just one of the ways used to help folks see where some of their implicit bias may lie.
It is interesting to me the different reactions people have with the implicit bias test. Most all of the reactions people may experience are perfectly normal; reactions range from disbelief, refusal of taking the test, questioning of the validity of the test, and many other reactions. Others have a great understanding before they take this test, have done some work themselves around implicit bias, and understand everyone has implicit bias. Again all of these reactions are perfectly normal; just stages of growth.
I remember when I was first introduced to this test while working on my Master’s. For me, I got caught up on the mechanics of the test: was I pushing “i” versus “e” fast enough and I really just wanted to pass the test, whatever that meant. The more tests I took as well as the more research and conversation I had around the test and implicit bias, I began to realize that one of the purposes of the test was to get to the deeper conversation – the deeper conversation around myself having implicit bias and what can I do to mitigate that. I did not want my daily decisions to be guided by something that was hidden and that I was unaware of. However, now I have the realization that will happen and I need to pay attention to when implicit bias happens.
At Peace Learning Center during our implicit bias workshop, we go over strategies that people can incorporate in their life to help lessen people’s own implicit biases and give space for folks to brainstorm goals that could help mitigates these implicit biases. Our hope is to lift people up creating change in their own lives.
Simple things we teach daily at Peace Learning Center such as kindness and empathy are key to communities working together to create the change that is so needed in our world today. Examining our hidden biases is part of this. Understand when change is uncomfortable look at it with curiosity.