We all come with our own implicit biases. These may come in the form of stereotypes that affect or actions or understanding on a subconscious level. Our perceptions are molded by what we take in. The media, our upbringing, the people around us and our past experiences all play a part in molding our perceptions. Though having biases doesn’t make us bad people, it can impact the way we view and treat others in a negative way if we aren’t aware of them.
For example, researchers have found that managers with implicit bias will be less likely to provide a black employee with a positive performance review, or a doctor will be less likely to recommend a black patient to a specialist. Dark-skinned people on average get sentences up to 8 years longer than fairer skinned people. White people, with biases towards black people, will unconsciously sit further away or be colder when interacting with them. Again, this doesn’t mean people with implicit biases are bad or racist, it just means they need to work on changing their perception. Here’s how we can rid ourselves of these crippling views.
1. You don’t have to be colorblind. Acknowledge differences instead of pretending that you don’t see them. Recognize biases in yourself
2. Educate yourself about other cultures and expand your point of view. Seek out friendships with people from different groups to increase your brain’s familiarity with different people. It also helps to get better acquainted with your own cultural identity.
3. Naturally, we notice how people are different from us, but try to consciously identify what qualities and goals we might have in common. What is the connection we all share?