Your Hidden Biases - Yes You Have Them
Find Your Bias
The IAT or Implicit Association Test measures your inclination toward or away from certain groups of individuals e.g., black people, gay people). It will evaluate your answers to a variety of questions based on not only your answers but the speed and accuracy. For example, your results may show that you have an preference for straight people as opposed to gay people or white people relative to black people. It will take you roughly 5 minutes to complete the test and will be well worth your time.
In addition, to The Implicit Association Test, please take the time to read the Article, Everyone is biased: Harvard professor’s work reveals we barely know our own minds, written by Carol Y Johnson. The article explains the events leading to the development of the test by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald. You will also read about the results that Banaji’s test, which took the now college professor very much by surprise. Most interesting of all, in her article, Johnson presents us with the fact that our biases come from memories that we don’t even realize we have.
The articles and other resources I have read through to write this have truly made me take a closer look at how I interact with people on a daily basis. Do I treat people differently based on gender, religion or skin color? It turns out that I do. I am extremely disturbed by the notion that I, despite never having considered myself biased, dumb things down when I am speaking with some of my employees. My vocabulary becomes very simplified when I speak to particular geoups of people. Not because I don’t like them or am uncomfortable but because I have allowed the media, friends and co-workers throughout my life to influence my biases. Truthfully? This absolutely horrified me. I have always prided myself on teaching my two sons that prejudices are for fools and have no place in our home. So, at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I shared this with my oldest son who very plainly told me “it’s ok mom, now that you know, you can change it”. He made so much sense that I was stunned. My 12 year old son is more logical than most adults I know. Talking to him was the best thing I could do. Since then, I have made a cognizant effort to change this behavior and thus far have been pretty successful. The point of sharing this experience was to reassure you that this does not make you a horrible person it simply means that we have allowed outside influences to dictate the way we treat people. If your intentions are genuine and not malicious this is definitely something that you can change about yourself.
We may think that your biases do not have an impact. However, as parents we tend to pass our biases or opinions on to our children and other impressionable young people even if not purposely. As we rant and vent to friends and family about the "dam immigrants and stupid spics" we don't realized the tiny ears that are listening. Adults tend to forget that these little people have a life outside of our homes. They go to school, camp or day care and interact with the very same people that they have heard you degrade. How are they supposed to survive in the real world if we are filling their heads with unsubstantiated opinions based on the utterly biased media sources that we see and hear every day?
Please click on this link or paste it into your browser . Once you have completed the test please post your results.
The video below is a tutorial to demonstrate the steps involved in taking the quiz. It also gives you some great ideas for further research if you don't like or agree with your result. Definitely worth watching