Category Archives: bias

The Somewhere of Bias

Whether we like it or not, everyone has bias. As much as many of us want to think of ourselves as unbiased, we are products of our personal history, messages we’ve received growing up from people around us, the media, peers and people in authority. We’ve also learned to interpret events based on our experiences and individual perspectives. Because we are often unaware that we are being biased, we don’t question our beliefs, assumptions or actions we take as a result.
Based on our bias we make assumptions, which result in actions, which can lead to exclusion, discrimination or avoidance.

We are constantly bombarded by information and the job of our brain is to interpret and make sense of that information, and them determine what to do with it

There is a filter- the reticular activating system that helps us decide what is relevant and important and what we need to pay attention to. It filters out information that is unimportant, non=threatening and not in our perceived reality. This filter guides us in how we live our life and what we react to.

However, what is important to one me may not be important you. What I consider threatening and stressful my not be threatening and stressful to you. When a Person of Color expresses fear of law enforcement, it’s based on either experience, experiences of other People of Color and what is in the media. Too often, people who are White think that because it’s not happening to them, ti’s not happening to anyone, or they  don’t have a particular bias, other people who look like them couldn’t possibly have that bias


At a luncheon recently, Claire, a White woman was raving about a shoe store in the city. Terry, a Black woman said, ” I’ve been in there twice and both times I was followed by a White woman. I think it was because I’m Black.”  Claire replied,”Terry, you are paranoid. I’ve never seen the sales person follow anyone around.” A third person said,” Claire, how would you know? You’ve never been followed around a store by another White person.”  We decided to test it out. I went in and the same salesperson was gracious, welcoming and left me alone.  Sandra, a Black woman, and Darryl, a Black man went in separately. Both of them were followed to the point of stalking by the saleswoman.  Claire was shocked that this would happen in “her” neighborhood  but she saw the proof.  racism in store

When someone who is different shares their experience of when they felt discriminated against, it’s  insulting and offensive to trivialize their experience. There are times what happened  may not be due to their skin color, religion, sexual orientation etc. and then again it might be. Don’t be quick to judge because it doesn’t happen to you. If you really want to stop bias and discrimination, get information, learn history, and give credibility to other people’s feelings and experience. Listen, learn and open your mind.

Does Your Organization Suffer From “Hidden Genius Constipation”

Does Your Organization Suffer From These Symptoms of “Hidden Genius Constipation”? 1- People in your organization have great ideas for new products and services but they have no  outlet to express them. Innovation stays in the realm of the product development team, or with your “regular” stars. No matter how diverse your workforce is, if people… Continue Reading

How to Support LGBT Inclusion #1 Check Bias

1- We can all benefit by becoming aware of our biases, not only about people who are different, but even about what we’ve heard about our own groups. Be open to the fact that you may have some unconscious stereotypes about LGBT people. Those stereotypes lead to assumptions about what an LGBTQ person may be… Continue Reading

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Is It Your Clone?

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner! Is It Diversity? In 1967 there was a comedy-drama about interracial marriage with Sydney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn, Beah Richards, and Spender Tracy. Interracial marriage was still illegal in some states when the film was made. At the time, the film and its subject were a “big deal.” While there are… Continue Reading