While many people believe they are not prejudiced against specific races or ethnicities, they still might hold various unconscious biases. These biases, while not blatant, can still affect how you relate to others and decisions you make, such as whether or not you should hire someone for a job. This brief blog offers suggestions on how you might be able to overcome such feelings.
Unconscious bias defined
An unconscious bias is an internal belief individuals can hold about people who are not of their particular race and ethnicity. An example of said feeling might be the harboring of a specific stereotype about a specific person or group. Such feelings differ from conscious biases, which are outright prejudicial beliefs about certain groups or persons.
Having an unconscious bias does not automatically make someone a bad person; many people may not immediately realize they have these biases. Once someone realizes their unconscious bias, many people strive to get rid of this feeling. When it comes to eliminating unconscious biases, here are a few methods you can try, whether for yourself, in your workplace, or with other people.
Raising awareness of the problem
In many instances, individuals are unaware of the unconscious biases they might hold. They do not see themselves as prejudiced or harbor clear prejudicial attitudes. Arguably, the most important step in eliminating such attitudes is to recognize that they exist amongst families, on social media, and in organizations such as the workplace.
Identifying specific instances
Once someone or a group of individuals admits the issue exists, they are encouraged to carefully examine their own personal attitudes and ask pertinent questions such as if they harbor specific beliefs about individuals who are a certain age, those who appear a specific way or express any negative views or thoughts about those representing an individual race, ethnic group, or sexual orientation. If the answer to these inquiries is yes, chances are the examiners do indeed harbor unconscious biases.
Fostering discussions amongst different groups
Often, individuals representing one specific group or ethnicity might harbor unconscious biases against another group and vice versa. If members of differing communities admit the problem exists, said entities may be able to work together to get these feelings out in the open and formulate strategies to overcome them.
Commit to change your bias
Once specific unconscious biases are identified, individuals can commit to changing individual viewpoints. One specific method of accomplishing this task might be through the establishment of a value system in which individuals base personal opinions about others on the values they hold in lieu of factors such as their age, aesthetic appearance, or skin tone.