Dear LiL: I see you have made a commitment to raising your voice against racism and discrimination. Any suggestions about how to better understand and address unconscious biases? Signed ~ Learning & Growing
Dear Learning & Growing:
Unconscious bias is a phenomena that naturally developed with the evolution of the human mind. We all hold unconscious, biologically hardwired preferences. Some of these preferences are helpful to our survival, but some can be detrimental to effective function in an inclusive society. In order to address these unconscious biases we need to be honest with ourselves about them. Recently one of my colleagues shared an article called “Why it is Better to Be Good-ish Than Good”. This article impresses upon us the need to open our mind to all possibilities. It recommends that we avoid complacency and to be open to learning about our own strengths and weaknesses. There is no question that the first step to addressing unconscious biases is to accept they exist and as the article states: “commit to being mindful” of your unconscious bias” and “commit to learning” about racism.
I have taken unconscious bias training and I recommend everyone do this. I took the training at a time when I naively believed that I had no biases that needed attention. I learned so much through drafting our firm’s diversity and inclusion policy, taking the training, reading more on the topic and co-writing the article “The Neutral Person: A Paradox – Accepting and Addressing Unconscious Bias in Mediation” published in The Advocate. I have also become so much more aware through personally committing to being mindful and open to learning more about unconscious biases and about racism more generally.
If formal unconscious bias training is not an option for you I recommend the remarkably insightful and free race test through Project Implicit – Harvard University.
We are all in this together.