How to Identify and Overcome Your Implicit Bias
What Is Implicit Bias?
Types of Implicit Bias
Race and Ethnicity Bias
LGBTQIA+ Community Bias
Other Types of Bias
- Affinity Bias: The tendency for individuals to gravitate toward people similar to themselves.
- Beauty Bias: The tendency for individuals to treat attractive people more favorably.
- Name Bias: The tendency for individuals to judge someone based on their name — and thus perceived background — which can negatively impact a company’s hiring processes.
- Weight Bias: The tendency for individuals to judge someone negatively, or assume negative things about them, if they’re overweight or underweight.
Overcoming Implicit Bias
Identify and Evaluate Your Own Biases
- Introspection: Set aside time to understand your biases by taking a personal inventory of them. This can be done by taking tests to identify the biases you may have.
- Mindfulness: Once you understand the biases you hold, be mindful that you’re more likely to give in to them when you’re under pressure or need to make quick decisions. If you’re feeling stressed, pause for a minute, collect yourself, and take a few deep breaths.
- Perspective-Taking: If you think you may be stereotyping people or groups, imagine what it would feel like for others to stereotype you.
- Learn to Slow Down: Before jumping to conclusions about others, remind yourself of positive examples of people from their age group, class, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. This can include friends; colleagues; or public figures, such as athletes, members of the clergy, or local leaders.
- Individualization: Remind yourself that all people have individual characteristics that are separate from others within their group. Focus on the things you have in common.
- Check Your Messaging: Instead of telling yourself that you don’t see people based on their color, class, or sexual orientation, learn to use statements that embrace inclusivity. For example, Apple Inc.’s inclusion statement circles around the topic of being different together: “At Apple, we’re not all the same, and that’s our greatest strength.”
- Institutionalize Fairness: In the workplace, learn to embrace and support diversity. The AAFP suggests individuals use the Equity and Empowerment Lens, which is designed to help organizations improve planning and resource allocation to foster more equitable policies.
- Take Two: Overcoming unconscious biases takes time. Understand that this is a lifelong process and that deprogramming your biases requires constant mindfulness and work.