Unconscious Bias

Posted Jun 9, 2020

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Summary

Learn about biases we all may have that we are unaware of, and what to do about them.


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Hello, I'm here on behalf of Beacon help options. My name is Cynthia Washington Williams. I'm a licensed professional counselor, and a military family counselor who has traveled nationally as well as internationally counseling service members and their families in places like Germany, Portugal, Hungary, London, Spain.

I'm glad that you're here with me today, we're going to be talking about a term that you might not be all that familiar with, unconscious bias. Unconscious bias.

So, as we start some of the questions. Related to this particular session, are we aware of our unconscious biases ? Do we accept them? What types of biases  are you aware of? Do you actually have any experience with your own or seeing biases in others' activity?

Let's just say you're working at the Honda car dealership. Describe someone who walks in that you wouldn't think might buy a car. Something to ponder over what might that person looked like that would make you think automatically they're not here to purchase a car or maybe to think certainly, they're not here to purchase a Mercedes or Bentley. They can't afford it. Unconscious bias is what we're going to be talking about. I'd like to remind you that this is a hypothetical lists. If a bias has mentioned, it doesn't necessarily mean that somebody may have it.

But this is actually the opportunity to bring and expand the list to include biases that we may not have thought about.

So we want to talk about that today some examples of by system ratio gender, financial, how might this manifest lingual, religious, or other aspects of someone's a experience ideological?

Let's break down this definition. Like I said, it's a word that we may not be all that familiar with conscious bias and I'm going to  read it. Unconscious biases are simply our natural people preferences. All of us have those that we prefer to be with. So biologically, we are actually hardwired to prefer people who look like us sound like us and share are interests.

So think about attending an event, where you are going to gravitate to those who look like you sound like you and share your interests. Social psychologists actually call this phenomenon social categorization. It's actually where we sort people into groups. This preference bypasses our normal, rational and logical thinking. So that's where the term unconscious comes in.

So we actually use these processes very effectively. We call it intuition, but the categories that we use to sort people, guess what? They're not logical, they're not modern, or perhaps even legal.

Some of the possible causes for unconscious bias in addition is our cultural background -- because remember culture is what we think, what we believe, how we've grown up, what our family does, what our friends do.

In addition to cultural backgrounds, pop, culture, norms, perpetuating stereotypes, some other possible causes might be bypassing rationality and logic and some assumptions whether it be positive or negative.

Let's go back to some of the possible causes, some examples.

Let's look into the impact of media and newspaper on us, and how it influences us, for example, for a long time in movies, you can remember women were not tested in main roles that portrayed strength and action. And what did this perpetuate? This perpetuated the stereotype of women being weak and it can also lead to unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias, when we're outside of our comfort zone, we may only want to communicate with people who are like us. So when I'm overseas in a place that may not have a lot of persons who look like me. I want to find someone who looks like me so I can feel comfortable to communicate with if we don't deal with unconscious bias.

What happens is we actually miss out on people with different views and opportunities.

So, how, how do we begin to confront this? We actually begin to confront this with the new concept, which is called selective attention. Selective attention, it's actually a cognitive process in which a person attempts to one or a few sensory inputs, but ignoring the other ones that may be line in their unconscious. Selective attention limits you from seeing the bigger picture.

So, by including a variety of experiences, expertise and points of view, and now working groups and teams, you actually get benefits and perspective that you would not have seen. Otherwise.

The reason to have inclusivity and our workgroups not just have people that think like us, but being open to having other people share their views and their expertise and how they see things. Paying attention to how we are behaving and how does how we behave affect our group. Very interesting. So the way you behave, actually affects your group.

How do you think this video as a representation of selective attention? What did you not see confronting selective attention is an important step and addressing unconscious bias.

So addressing unconscious biases not only prevents losses and diversity, but also can contribute to innovative thinking, thinking outside of the box and beginning to increase productivity. You must be aware of not only of your conscious thoughts, but also of your unconscious bias and habits anonymous.

Self awareness, positive affirmations can actually be a form of bias. We can have biases against race and color. We can have positive biases without knowledge. That those are wanted collectively can be considered bias. Bias is making assumptions before we had opportunity to explore it. I'm going to  read that one again. I'm going to  say that one again. So bias is making assumptions before we've actually had the opportunity to explore it.

An example would be assuming all Asian people are smart, is an unconscious bias against a group of people. Another example, when you see tall people, where you automatically assume I wonder if they play basketball. So it's almost inevitable to us internally, so let's just go ahead and acknowledge it.

It's almost like an alarm or point of tension and then we begin exploring so learn to be aware and confront these biases. So it doesn't interfere with your productivity awareness and success. The importance of awareness to action.

One of the things that your company could do is offer awareness training should be a safe place for organizations and members to become more mindful. And how they make their decisions label, the type of basis, which may occur and have a conversation at all levels about what biases are present in the company.

We all have them, even if we haven't recognize them, we, all have biases in our companies and steps that may be taken to minimize them.

So a particular application on our phone swiping yes. Or no liking or disliking things, the four people, even come to work. Please know, they have made decisions on what they like or dislike.

Awareness training maybe we talk about it and staff meetings in some way. Maybe we can discuss a case study or we can just choose topics for people over courses of time so that we can create a stable and strategic intentional change in our organizations. It doesn't have to be an hour. It can be brief, but it's important because leaders along with coworkers have the opportunity to create the change in the workplace managers can use themselves as examples as.

Why do I always choose X instead of Z? For example, whenever there is a particular birthday that's being celebrated on the job is there always one restaurant that everyone chooses? Oh, we're going to  go to Outback or we're going to Pages so some of these things can be biased against ideas and not people. So it's important to be able to talk about it and address it.

Some of the preventative methods in the workplace, our cultural awareness and intelligence this is where we begin to alternate perspectives. So maybe one month we'll do things based on what this group may like. But then another month, we'll do things based on a choice that this other group has so learn to alternate perspectives and don't always just use this perspective of one group.

Be mindful of attitude civility an empathy, the acronym, A. C. E., attitude, civility and empathy attitude how we respond being civil and respectful and empathy where we actually consider how someone else might be feeling. Valuing diversity inclusion. Understanding that we share the same characteristic of difference. So treating diversity inclusion versus just tolerating and on the performance appraisal, giving feedback on work performance.

Some more preventative method methods that I'd like to share with you are as leaders and coworkers make sure you role model and encourage modeling can actually reduce perceptions and highlight diversity. What other people see, how you handle person's of a different cultural or ethnic background. We'll also give them the proclivity to do the same.

Choosing what is comfortable and familiar forming of exclusive social groups during breaks being mindful that when you're having any event, make sure to invite everybody, let them choose whether or not they want to attend, rather than excluding them because you assume that they won't be interested.

And this is important for events outside of the office or social groups during breaks. This obviously can create a bias state of mind. Another preventative method can be positive thoughts, promote appropriate behavior.

As leaders, what is some of the things that we can do to foster people coming together, creating an atmosphere of inclusivity versus bias sickness, be conscious of your actions. Sometimes people without realizing it, you make exclude others and perpetuate biases and not even be aware of it.

Some questions to follow up on, how do we measure and determine unconscious bias? Well, there is an inventory tool that you can take. It is called the I, eighty, it's the implicit association tests. The implicit association test is a free two. It's available online. It's developed jointly by Harvard University, the University of Washington, and the University of Virginia. It compares a wide range of possible associations, many of which we actually mentioned and ask questions to start.

So, what keeps me from hearing you are only seeing you and not listening to use. Thank you. Remember you're not alone. We are all a participant of unconscious bias at one point, or another. You took a very important step today by learning this new term and becoming more familiar with unconscious bias. Now, it's time to confront those unconscious biases  and a continuous process. It's not just one single event. It's a process and a progress.

Thank you so much for listening to this very important presentation. Please contact your employee assistance program with any questions that you may have. And again I'm here on behalf of Beacon Health Options. Thank you. 

 

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The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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