AEO - Association of event organisers

Diversity & Inclusion Hub: Race, Identifying Unconscious Bias

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Introduction

Unconscious bias occurs when people favour others who look like them and/or share their values. For example a person may be drawn to someone with a similar educational background, from the same area, or who is the same colour or ethnicity as them.

Another form of unconscious bias is known as the halo effect. This is where a positive trait is transferred on to a person without anything really being known about that person. For example those who dress conservatively are often seen as more capable in an office environment, based purely on their attire.

Behaviour which reinforces the bias is noticed whilst behaviour which does not is ignored. This is how decisions based on unconscious bias are justified.

Everyone has unconscious biases. The brain receives information all the time from our own experiences and what we read, hear or see in the media and from others. The brain uses shortcuts to speed up decision making and unconscious bias is a by-product. There are times when this sort of quick decision making is useful, for example if faced with a dangerous situation, however it is not a good way to make decisions when dealing with recruiting or promoting staff.

Unconscious bias at work can influence decisions in recruitment, promotion, staff development and recognition and can lead to a less diverse workforce. Employers can overlook talented workers and instead favour those who share their own characteristics or views.

Where unconscious bias is against a protected characteristic, it can be discriminatory. For example if during a recruitment process an employer ignores the skills and experience of a candidate who is a different race than them and appoints another candidate who is the same race, this could be discriminatory.

Acas.org.uk

All resources below have been recommended by AEO, AEV, and ESSA members. If you would like to submit a resource for consideration on Identifying Unconscious Bias, including articles, videos, books, and/or films, please send it to us by clicking the button below.

Submit a resource here

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Unconscious bias training alone will not stop discrimination, say critics

Nazia Parveen, The Guardian

Equality campaigners and behavioural scientists say one-off training sessions are not the answer

Read the article here

Exposing Unconscious Bias

Pragya Agarwal, New Scientist

In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyse the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.

Read the article here

Race and Work in 2020: Combating Microaggressions and Bias in the Remote Workplace

Wharton Stories

In this first of seven installments in this series, Prof. Laura Morgan Roberts of The Darden School at University of Virginia joins Wharton’s Stew Friedman to discuss strategies organizations can implement to combat racism in the work-from-home environment.

Read the article here 

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Me and White Supremacy: A Guided Journal

Layla Saad

Layla F. Saad wrote Me and White Supremacy to encourage people who hold white privilege to examine their (often unconscious) racist thoughts and behaviours through a unique, 28-day reflection process.

Buy it here

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Robin DiAngelo

Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has - unintentionally - caused racial offence or hurt. Using knowledge and insight gained over decades of running racial awareness workshops, the author shows us how to start having more honest conversations, listen, and react to feedback with grace and humility.

Buy it here

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A Class Divided

Frontline

The day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, Jane Elliott, a teacher in a small, all-white Iowa town, divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and gave them a daring lesson in discrimination. This is the story of that lesson, its lasting impact on the children, and its enduring power 30 years later.

Watch the film here

13th 

Ava DuVernay

In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyse the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.

Watch the film here

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