Recognizing Implicit Bias in our Own Lives

As human beings we all have our own biases.  This is a natural  response to protect us from what is unfamiliar, however if not recognized and confronted, biases can be destructive.   As protective parents we are biased towards our own children when we encounter someone who is different. We are biased by our own cultural norms because they are familiar, whether it is food, religion or traditions.  However we must recognize that many of the biases we hold towards others who are different are formed from a lifetime of negative input.  Think of how African Americans have been portrayed in mass media for over hundreds of years.  Whether it was blackface during Vaudeville days or cartoons from Dumbo to Jungle Book, or crime show dramas of the 1970's; African Americans have frequently been portrayed in highly offensive and demeaning ways and these images have been driven into the greater society.  


Talking about race, diversity and our own biases can be very sensitive.  Chris recognizes this and has developed a workshop that is not based on shame.  In this workshop, Chris shares his own history and experiences with implicit biases and how through reflection he has come to recognize and use strategies to confront them.  Participants will be asked to take a quick implicit bias test from Harvard University's'  Project Implicit.  This will set the foundation for a discussion reflecting on how their community, their own cultural traditions and the media influences in their life that may contribute to their own implicit biases.  The impact of social media and how that continues to play a role in implicit bias is also addressed.  The impact of implicit bias is also examined and topics from classroom management to grades are also discussed. 


The workshop is not designed to "cure" or end implicit bias but does provide the tools for continual reflection and awareness on our own implicit bias and the impact they can have.  Participants will leave feeling empowered to recognize implicit bias and therefore have strategies to minimize the impact it may have as they educate our young people.