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Implicit Bias

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Implicit Bias

This is an article I wrote that appeared in the West Plaza Neighborhood Association Newsletter.

Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute defines implicit bias as “attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.”

We all have them. These attitudes may be favorable or unfavorable. Implicit bias is pervasive and malleable and may not be aligned with our stated beliefs. That means that often they are unconscious. Our implicit bias tends to favor our in-group.

Implicit Bias Behaviors

implicity-bias-lumberjacksBehaviors such as microaggressions reflect implicit bias. For instance, most of us are aware that race affects criminal sentencing. Judges’ unconscious implicit biases affect their decisions.

If someone dressed like a lumberjack shops in an upscale store, service may be slow to come, despite availability of funds.

You probably heard the story about Oprah at a Swiss store where the server told her that she wouldn’t be able to afford a purse she wanted to look at. That clerk clearly had some implicit biases that were affecting her behavior.

How Do You Rate?

Check out your own implicit bias; take Harvard University’s Implicit Bias tests online. They’re brain teasers!

Check out my blog for more tips on living.

Want to talk? Make an appointment with me.

Please note, this article first appeared in the West Plaza Neighborhood Association Newsletter, November-December 2016 on page 2.


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Author: Martha Childers

Martha Childers, EdS, LPC is a psychotherapist specializing in helping individuals aged 50+, couples and women. Martha is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri and Kansas. She received her masters and education specialist degrees in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She practiced Zen through a variety of Japanese traditional arts for 3-1/2 years. Since that time, mindfulness has been an integral part of her life. Her interest in human nature, beliefs, and life styles led her to become a counselor.

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