Introductory Courageous Conversation on Race & Implicit Bias:
How We All Contribute to Inequities in Our Communities: Understanding Challenges and Developing Solutions
An afternoon of continuation and exploration of the topic.
Sunday, December 18
Oak Park Temple
A look at Implicit Bias
Presented by Dennette Derezotes, LCSW in conjunction with the OPT series of Courageous Conversations.
Dennette was the founding Executive Director of the Race Matters Consortium, a national multi-system initiative that promotes strategies that prevent, intervene, and eliminate adverse racial disproportionality and disparities and work toward racial equity in the child welfare system. She is an author of a book and several peer reviewed journal articles on racial equity in child welfare. Ms. Derezotes currently teaches social work to Bachelors and Masters level students and performs consultation and program evaluation to organizations throughout the country.
RSVP/Questions: Susan Stephens, firstname.lastname@example.org
How and Why
Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness. Rather, implicit biases are not accessible through introspection. In addition (Kirwan Institute):
Implicit biases are pervasive. Everyone possesses them, even people with avowed commitments to impartiality such as judges.
Implicit and explicit biases are related but distinct mental constructs. They are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce each other.
The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
We generally tend to hold implicit biases that favor our own ingroup, though research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against our ingroup.
Implicit biases are malleable. Our brains are incredibly complex, and the implicit associations that we have formed can be gradually unlearned through a variety of debiasing techniques.
Our intention is to begin by revisiting the experiences everyone had taking the implicit bias test on race. In order to access the link to take the test visit the web-site: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html There are many tests on the page to choose from, but if you just choose the test on race it should not take you longer than 5 minutes to complete. There is also a significant amount of research on the topic available on a related web-site. You can find it at http://www.projectimplicit.net/researchers.html Much of the research is posted right on the site. In addition to the researchers at Harvard, Cheryl Staat at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity published a review of the data on Implicit Bias in 2014. It is attached to this email.
The lead professor who has been examining implicit bias for over two decades is Mahzarin Benaji at Harvard University. Benaji wrote a book, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (NY: Random House, 2013) with her colleague Anthony Greenwald in 2013. The aim of Blindspot is “to explain the science in plain enough language to allow well-intentioned people to better achieve that alignment.”
There are several items on the agenda for the December 18 meeting. We will look at the structural implications of these biases as well as advocacy groups that are working to address current issues at the national level. This can be used to help inform people who are concerned about the current environment and searching to see what they can contribute to at the policy level.
We will consider what is happening in our own back yard and how we can do things at the community level to work with each other at Oak Park Temple and in neighboring communities.
We will also look at available tools and resources to help us understand and address our biases.
We hope that you will join other community members as we step up to meet this national challenge.