Tony Greenwald’s Implicit Association Test is cited in this Quartz at Work article about what to do with your implicit bias
What to do with your implicit bias
White/Innocent. Black/Criminal. Men/Clever. Women/Nurturing. If you’ve ever taken an implicit bias test or training, you’ll recognize pairs like these as examples of the unconscious associations our brains make about social categories. While social psychologists Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald first came up with the concept (which they called implicit social cognition) in the 1990s, only in the last decade has the idea taken hold in popular culture. Implicit bias has increasingly been identified as an important issue in schools, police departments, social services, and workplaces across the country.
As a diversity and inclusion consultant, I am frequently asked by nonprofits, schools, and corporations to do “implicit bias trainings.” The formula for these workshops is simple: They typically start with a brief talk on the negative effects of implicit bias on productivity, company culture, and diversity, followed by examples of some of the most insidious racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic biases and their far-reaching impacts. Participants are given tips and tricks for combatting not only their own biases, but the institutionalized biases baked into their organizations. Finally, the consultant exhorts all participants to stay vigilant, keep fighting, and work toward a better world.
I love giving these workshops, but there is a moment in just about every one of them that makes me cringe. As people exit the room, I typically hear snippets of conversations along the lines of, “It’s important to be unbiased” or “I’m going to make sure my team isn’t biased” or “We’re an unbiased company, so this was an important workshop.” These statements make me wonder if participants believe that a single implicit bias workshop is a miracle elixir for success, and that I am the magician behind it. Both of these assumptions are false.
What I’ve realized is that implicit bias training, the way many professionals offer it, has a framing problem. Bias isn’t like an upset stomach that an individual can take an antacid to fix; it’s a chronic issue that affects entire organizations, industries, and even societies. Individuals have racist, sexist, and homophobic biases because our families, schools, workplaces, and popular culture are racist, sexist, and homophobic. The outcome of any implicit bias training shouldn’t be to cure people’s bias or make them more objective—it should be to make people bias-aware.
Read the entire article here.