Sean Comer is Government Relations Director for Xavier University and manages projects for Beyond Civility.
On April 12th, Beyond Civility held an event at Hebrew Union College addressing implicit bias, those biases that occur at a subconscious level. Dr. Gabe Gottlieb, a Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University provided a helpful primer on the topic followed by a moderated panel discussion by four community leaders, each with a unique life story and perspective.
Why talk about these implicit, unconscious biases?
- To recognize that we all have them.
- Acknowledging them is a first step to mitigate their impact.
- Intentional, meaningful interaction with those who are different can keep us from acting in accord with our subconscious biases that may be contrary to our expressed beliefs.
The panelists, each of whom took multiple Harvard Implicit Bias tests, were Shakila Ahmad, President of the Board of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, Ozie Davis, Executive Director of the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation, John Pepper, retired CEO of Procter and Gamble, and Jonathan Cohen, Dean of the Hebrew Union College.
Each told stories about their lives, which revealed their implicit biases, and they discussed both their reactions to the tests and strategies to mitigate these biases (You can take an implicit bias test and learn about how they affect your life by visiting www.projectimplicit.com).
Audience members shared, with a crowd of over 200 in attendance, their experience taking the tests and what they found.
If we want to improve our ability to communicate and govern on complex issues, understanding our implicit biases and how to compensate for them gives us an important tool.
You can listen to excerpts from the Implicit Bias event below.