Unconscious Bias in Everyday Life

This was another workshop that seemed to be focused on something I didn’t know much about. I hadn’t thought about the biases I was placing on things and people in everyday life and this title intrigued me. The goals of the workshop were to understand the science and research of unconscious bias, to become our own background and its impact on our perceptions, to identify how bias and the processes of the unconscious mind can impact decisions and results, and to apply new strategies for practicing more conscious awareness so that we are better able to advocate for inclusion in our organizations. It was defined that unconscious bias is the mental associations without awareness, intentions, or control, which often conflicts with conscious attitudes, behaviors, and intentions. We saw examples of this through activities and discussion, where one of the more neat aspects was the comparison between our fast/emotion brain and our slow thinking brain. Our fact brain is the initial flight, fight, or freeze response we generate automatically. These, again, are things that I do not notice or spend much time thinking about, but I sure do now. One takeaway from the workshop was the acronym PAUSE: pay attention, acknowledge your reactions, understand other possible reactions, search for the most empowering/productive way to deal with the situation, and execute your action plan. If intrapersonal growth and the impact of our decisions are things that interest you, I would recommend you also take this course. It is run by Latisha Cunningham and Jennifer Eshelman. Contact them for more information on this workshop and the others they also facilitate!

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