3. Implicit Bias

What is Implicit Bias?

Thoughts and feelings are “implicit” if we are unaware of them or mistaken about their nature. We have a bias when, rather than being neutral, we have a preference for (or aversion to) a person or group of people. Thus, we use the term “implicit bias” to describe when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. Implicit bias is a universal phenomenon, not limited by race, gender, or even country of origin. Implicit bias and unconscious bias are often used interchangeable. 

Peanut Butter and ______.

Reflective Activity for The Peanut Butter and Jelly Video

Let's explore the Peanut Butter and Jelly associations in your own classroom. Look at the list below and write down the first thing that comes to your mind. 

  • Good penmanship 
  • A student blurting out an answer
  • A student raising their hand to answer a question
  • A lack of personal hygiene
  • An overweight student
  • An honor role student that doesn't appear in class one day
  • A failing student that doesn't appear in class one day

Video #2

Reflective Questions for Video #2

  1. Summarize the biases that each character holds.
  2. How did those biases impact the feelings or behaviors of a particular character?
  3. What is one action that a character could have taken that would have challenged their implicit bias?

Exploring Your Biases

To be clear, all people hold implicit/unconscious biases.

An effective way to begin the process of engaging with our implicit biases on a conscious level is to identify those biases. An Implicit Association Test (IAT) can be a helpful way to start the process. Select an Implicit Association Test based on an area you are interested in exploring. 

Warning: This test has been taken more than one million times, and the results usually reveal some degree of bias. Your test results will include interpretations based on research done with more elaborate versions of this test. However, the parties who have contributed to this site make no claim regarding the validity of suggested interpretations. 

To explore the idea of bias in the classroom, check out this blog at https://www.thegraidenetwork.com/blog-all/2018/8/1/teacher-bias-the-elephant-in-the-classroom

Reflective Questions

  1. What were the reasons for selecting and completing the Implicit Association Test that you chose?
  2. Did you answer the questions in the IAT the way you though you should or the way you believe and behave? Or a little bit of both?
  3. What feelings or thoughts did the result of the IAT generate in you?