Implicit Bias Training

What does implicit bias mean?

According to the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, “implicit bias, also known as implicit social cognition, refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.  These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.  Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness.  Rather, implicit biases are not accessible through introspection.”

Characteristics of Implicit Biases

According to the Kirwan Institute, the following characteristics are associated with implicit biases:

  • Implicit biases are pervasive.  Everyone possesses them, even people with avowed commitments to impartiality such as judges.
  • Implicit and explicit biases are related but distinct mental constructs.  They are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce each other.
  • The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
  • We generally tend to hold implicit biases that favor our own ingroup, though research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against our ingroup.
  • Implicit biases are malleable.  Our brains are incredibly complex, and the implicit associations that we have formed can be gradually unlearned through a variety of debiasing techniques.

How does implicit bias training work?

The concept is based on the notion that every person holds implicit, or subconscious, prejudices — even those in positions of impartiality, such as judges. The training doesn't aim to rid the mind of involuntary prejudices. Instead, it helps officers learn how to avoid acting on them. Marks said training can range from a half-hour presentation to a full-day course.

When did police officers start implicit bias training?

Implicit bias training got a boost in 2014, when President Obama's task force on 21st century policing recommended it following the Ferguson, Missouri, fatal police shooting of black teen Michael Brown. Since then, departments from New York City to Los Angeles have implemented it, although there are no official estimates on how many nationwide have undergone training.

Implicit Bias Training Pilot Sites

According to the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, "there are six pilot sites employing strategies, examining policies, and developing evidence through research to reduce implicit bias, enhance procedural justice, and promote racial reconciliation."

  • Stockton, California
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Gary, Indiana
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Birmingham, Alabama

The origins

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Where it started

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Attracting users

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Hiring the 2 guys

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Time to take over the world

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Why time tracking

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Getting investment

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It's party time

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To Mars and beyond

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