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Overcoming Unconscious Bias

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Presentation on theme: "Overcoming Unconscious Bias"— Presentation transcript:

1 Overcoming Unconscious Bias
Sasha Scott & Damian Jenkins

2 You can change your filters
A change in your own circumstances, or new experiences, can realign what your brain pays attention to They can also alter the way it responds to different cues When pregnant you see others who are pregnant Mini drivers always spot other minis When you see grab sacks or polished shoes you notice people more

3 Steps to take Be alert to bias – AWARENESS
Practice retraining your brain – MINDFULNESS Bring about practices that prevent bias affecting an outcome – RESOURCEFULNESS

4 Acknowledge your biases
Starts by understanding that we all have biases Actively look for biases in your decision making process Questions where the biases came from Learned from experience? Does the bias apply to all people of that group? What can you do to move beyond the bias? This is a slow process but gets quicker If you have a certain expectation about a type of person you need to ask if it applies to the individual in front of you

5 Awareness Take an implicit bias test (Harvard Implicit Bias Test)
Identify how you learned your biases Individual workbook questions up to and including page [5 minutes. Go!] Beware your defensive nature Now recall situations in which you will have sought out your kinship group (Page 5) Notice that your defence mechanisms kick in This is the first thing you have to be mindful of. Defence feeling comes from ambiguity/not knowing what will happen next

6 How might you respond to someone from a different kinship group?
Attempt question on Pg 6 The outcome of interviews and appraisals can be highly influenced by biases Interview scenario: two people on panel. First person enters. One of panel gets ‘good feeling’ about person who happens to be similar (same Kinship group). Interviewee stumbles at first Q. Panel member says ‘Take your time, everyone is nervous in these settings’. Interview goes well. Self reinforcing. Similar happens for a second interviewee from a different kinship group. No such support when they stumble at first question. Changes the whole course of interview.

7 Mindfulness This means dissecting your decision making CONSCIOUSLY
Try question on page 7 about people who are overweight What did you come up with?

8 Ask yourself Take any one of the adjectives that you listed
Does that word apply to all overweight people? If no, why do you hold that bias? Would it be better to see the individual rather than the characteristic? If you do this in your daily life it will allow you to pause and be objective

9 Question yourself How many people do I know that conform to this bias?
How many people do I know that do not conform to this bias?

10 Finally for this booklet
Look at the last page In groups of four allocate the words in the box to the faces What do you notice?

11 Most people notice That, within their groups, people wanted to attach words to different faces For certain words you were more certain about which face to attach them to This demonstrates several of the concepts we previously learned about

12 These concepts are: 1. Ambiguity exists when you have no experience of a particular group of people. When this is the case you resort to schemas to make their decisions. These may be wildly wrong. 2. Some biases are very strong, because of hard wiring. The old, but fast, brain is making these decisions for you.

13 If you exaggerate these features you get a happy face
Unconscious brain links trustworthiness to up-arching eyebrows and neutral or smiling lips If you exaggerate these features you get a happy face If you invert these features you get an angry face And what is silly: not one of these faces is truly linked to trustworthiness. If you do not recognise and evaluate your bias you could get all of this wrong

14 Resourcefulness See the individual
Study participants viewed photos of unfamiliar black and white faces Brain response measured Shown faces again. This time given some personal information about individual

15 When shown pictures blue dots are white faces, red dots are black
When shown pictures blue dots are white faces, red dots are black. Orange and yellow are lighter dark skins. Note dark = amygdala lighting up. This is your FEAR area. Repeated, this time with personalised information. Now all faces activating same area.

16 Resourcefulness – be positive
When you come to think critically of some one STOP. Are you critical because of the way they look or their behaviour? Could you be misreading that person? If you had to say something positive what might it be?

17 Endorse Micro-affirmations
Provide little acknowledgments of people’s contributions and accomplishments Give public recognition: commend people on the spot Provide an ear or a shoulder when needed

18 Individual betterment
Tell the truth to yourself Notice what influences your decision Gather data about yourself Stretch your comfort zone Stimulate your curiosity about others

19 Making changes at the organisational level

20 Changes to your organisation
Encourage others to take an implicit bias test Discuss your results Have a frank conversation about they way you currently view people based on their age, gender, colour, religion, sexuality. As a team decide which views are reasonable and which you should challenge

21 Reframe the conversation
Don’t do this because of some legal necessity Don’t talk in terms of discrimination Instead get your message out in terms of fair treatment and respect Do it because it is the right thing to do When people get angry/revolt ask them to stop and question why that is their response

22 Challenge Other people’s treatment of people from minority groups
Negative language and stereotypes: if you don’t know a lesbian how can you know if the stereotype you talk about is real or not? Language really does matter – don’t diminish the effect you have on others We often here people saying, The RSM really shouldn’t tell people off by calling them gay But it doesn’t matter. John is gay and he doesn’t mind Does John mind? If you asked him, how likely would he be to isolate himself by saying he did mind?

23 Create A culture of acceptance
If there is one bisexual man in your unit his fitting in depends on how open to diversity your unit is. It is NOT based on how hard he tries to fit in. Opportunities for people of different kinship groups to interact and debunk myths All research in this field shows that most people give up false stereotypes and Prejudices when they get to know people from a minority group. Seeing them as an individual is important. To do this make people of different cultures interact. If you don’t know a gay, get one to reverse mentor you Volunteer your unit’s energies or time to local LGBT groups. Great for recruitment and press. Get the straight people to do this.

24 Celebrate Your unit’s diversity and the Army’s diversity
Advertise these groups proudly. Don’t leave promoting diversity groups to the one of two ‘diverse’ individuals Acknowledge people’s work in inclusivity and diversity when writing their reports: make it something you take seriously when reviewing who should go forward for promotion Get messages from the CO that are positive and welcoming – not legal speak. This last point is a vital test of how seriously you take this. Making diversity the problem of the people already being left out is a double blow. Take control of diversity yourself. Be the one to put up the LGBT posters. All white groups were asked to do a test on diversity. Then a mixed colour group did the same. The whites in the 2nd group scored highest.

25 Scrutinise How you perform your MPARs and reports
How you decide who goes forward for courses Does your unit use the same formula each time? The language used in performance reviews (perky, flamboyant, nice, aggressive, loud etc.) Yourself for biases when performing appraisals The temperature of your drink matters: cold drink cold response. Same goes for lighting, time of day, and how much sugar you have had.

26 Commission services Get in house training Address stereotypes
Promote an understanding of unconscious bias Provide tools for relearning biases

27 Gauge your successes Anonymous, in house surveys
Are you treated differently based on..? Have you had negative experiences because of..? Do colleagues interrupt bad behaviours? Does the CoC actively promote diversity? Don’t rely on complaints or lack of them Any system that requires the person suffering biase ends up being punished twice: once when people demonstrate their bias, again when they Make a complaint.

28 Enacting policy alone is a key element of failure
Gay male soldier receives positive feedback because people worry about having frank discussion about shortcomings. Lack of opportunity to grow reflects in average grades. He approaches his OC to ask what he can do to promote. Problem solving approach Risk management approach OC document interactions. May seek advice from RCMO/RAO because of fear ‘gay card’ may be played. Average grades used to explain lack of promotion. No obvious growth areas identified. Soldier stalls. OC reflects on unconscious biases. Realises previous appraisals have not highlighted areas for betterment. Realises this was from fear of ‘being hard’ on soldier. Distributes new assignments and helps guide him through. Grade improvement and potential for promotion gained.

29 Unconscious Bias Tool Kit
Eliminate your own biases Provide a work environment that is welcoming Do not put onus of diversity onto the few individuals who are different Offer meaningful work and honest feedback to everyone Provide mentors Be mentored Foster cultural awareness: ensure staff interact with people from minority groups Change ‘necessary diversity training’ (MATT 6) to interactive training that allows between-group mixing/interaction Ensure those who manage careers are truly on board with E&D Reward people who make a commitment to E&D

30 Help people be themselves
10 things you can say to someone who comes out: 1. Nothing - It’s fine to take a moment and take it in before you respond, so you don’t blurt out something you don’t mean. But eventually you will have to say something 2. Thanks for trusting me enough to tell me 3. I’m listening and here if you want to talk 4. It’s really great that you’re being true to who you are 5. I don’t know many gay people, please let me know if I do or say anything that offends you. I wouldn’t want to say anything that upsets you 6. I’m not sure what the right thing is to say, but I want to be here and supportive for you 7. How can I support you? 8. Are you comfortable with other people knowing, or do you want to be the one to tell people? 9. Have you come out to anyone else? How’s that been? 10. Cool. This doesn’t change how I feel about you. Hope we’re still going for that drink on Friday night?

31 Top 10 Things Not to Say to Someone Who Comes Out to You
1. You’re one of them? 2. That’s immoral 3. But you’ve got children 4. You’re just confused 5. You can’t be gay, you used to have a boyfriend/girlfriend 6. Have you tried talking to a professional about this?, maybe they can help you 7. It’s probably just a phase 8. But you’re so pretty, lots of men here like you, you don’t have to be a lesbian 9. What? You’re gay, but we go to the gym together. Does that mean you’ve been looking at me ‘that way’ all the time? 10. How long have you known you were … you know?

32 Your challenge, should you choose to accept it..
Within the next two weeks, identify personal behaviors that are consistent with bias and commit to deliberately changing at least one of those behaviors. Pursue strategies in your work setting that will encourage others to undertake behaviors that are inconsistent with bias. Display counter-bias material at work.

33 There is a massive pool of diversity. Dive on in!

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