Intentions aren’t good enough

Just saw this new article in The Atlantic. It reminds me of our 4th strategy in Defeating Unconscious Bias – Act As If the Bias Doesn’t Exist.  Read here. “There are a lot of people who are very sincere in their renunciation of prejudice,” she said. “Yet they are vulnerable to habits of mind. Intentions aren’t good enough.”

The woman, Patricia Devine, is a psychology professor and director of the Prejudice Lab. Thirty years ago, as a graduate student, she conducted a series of experiments that laid out the psychological case for implicit racial bias—the idea, broadly, is that it’s possible to act in prejudicial ways while sincerely rejecting prejudiced ideas. She demonstrated that even if people don’t believe racist stereotypes are true, those stereotypes, once absorbed, can influence people’s behavior without their awareness or intent.

Now, decades after unraveling this phenomenon, Devine wants to find a way to end it. She’s not alone. Since the mid-1990s, researchers have been trying to wipe out implicit bias. Over the last several years, “unconscious-bias trainings” have seized Silicon Valley; they are now de rigueur at organizations across the tech world.

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