Episode #46 Examine Your Bias

We can try to ignore it, deflect it, or deny it, but it’s true: we all have biases. This week, Dr. Michael Brown and Eric Jones challenge us all to take an honest look at the unseen ways that our upbringing, our experiences, and our context shape the way we interact with the world around us.

Show Notes

I run through the neighborhood I live in. It’s exhausting at times, but every time I see a person – especially if they don’t look like me – I wave, I make eye contact, I smile. There are a lot of police officers that drive through our neighborhoods. I want them to know that I live here. I cut the grass at that house right there.
Eric Jones

Three Problems

  • The way we subjectively interpret the world is not always aligned with reality.
  • Black and brown people are often treated better by others when they are wearing professional attire than when they are wearing street clothes.
  • Black individuals routinely describe the exhaustion of exerting extra energy in order to be perceived in a positive light by white individuals.

Three Principles

  • Biases alone are not bad, but biases that remain unexamined can become harmful.
  • The goal of conversations about bias should not be guilt but instead personal ownership.
  • The three steps to examining our biases are to pause, to probe, and to personalize.

Three Practices

  • Evaluate yourself honestly by asking the question, “How do my personal biases contribute to inequality?”
  • When you identify a bias emerging in your mind, ask yourself, “Why am I thinking and feeling this way?”
  • Engage in ongoing and meaningful relationships with people who don’t look and think like you in order to challenge your gut reactions and initial impressions of others.