Here are 5 ways we can own it and shift our perspective.
Know it’s normal.
We all have implicit bias. By definition, implicit bias is the unconscious belief or attitude, positive or negative, about something or someone. Our perceptions, responses and interactions are – knowingly or not – shaped by our past experiences. Everyone has a past, everyone has their own lens, and everyone – everyone – has implicit biases.
Are we jumping to conclusions? Projecting our expectations onto others? Be intentional about decisions and interactions, and question whether an approach to a situation may be colored by our own biases or experiences. Are we being objective? We should always ask ourselves.
Find the root.
Identify the root cause of our bias. If we can nail down what experience(s) or past interactions are shaping perceptions of current situations, we are that much closer to separating our today scenario from our yesterday experience.
Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to identify and eliminate implicit bias is to talk openly with others about it. These kinds of candid conversations, when appropriate, shed light on just how common implicit bias is, and all the faces it can have, and establishes a level of comfort with owning and identifying our own tendencies.
Expand our horizons.
When we’ve identified a bias of our own, we owe it to ourselves and others to learn more about it. We need to do some research; immerse ourselves in information so that we have more than just our own perspective. Most often, our implicit bias is the result of our individual perspective (at the exclusion of all other perspectives), so arming ourselves with input from other sources can change the way we look at things.
Want to test your bias?
Check out Project Implicit, a research project created by several scientists from Harvard University, University of Washington, and University of Virginia. Choose from 14 different topics and assess your own levels of bias.
Choose an Implicit Association Test (IAT) topic here to get started.