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6 Ways to Push Back Against Unconscious Bias

on Aug 25, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 1 Comment | Diversity Race Fear Bias
Our brains have evolved over thousands of years to take mental shortcuts. We are capable of processing about 11 million pieces of information per second, but only 40 pieces of information is processed consciously (while the vast majority happens subconsciously). Because of these neuro-shortcuts, when we meet new people, we tend to automatically make snap judgments about them. Years ago, this was a safety mechanism. Our brain’s amygdala, which controls our fight or flight reflex, would give a signal to run/react/fight in the face of the unknown. Today, that animal impulse still lingers in the form of unconscious bias. Obviously, the human race has come a long way over the past couple thousand years, but that has only complicated unconscious bias, not eliminated it. Now, instead of fearing unknown entities, we might instead believe social narratives about certain groups of people. According to Renee Navarro, Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach at UCSF, “Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one's tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.” Categorizing. Mental shortcuts. Unconscious processing. While these cognitive tendencies might occur instinctively, that doesn’t give anyone a free pass to hold onto their biases. It is our collective responsibility to acknowledge unconscious bias and work to change the narrative (both in society and within our own heads). Start with these 6 steps...
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