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  • Sabrina Trobak

Implicit Bias

  What is Implicit Bias?

There has been a lot of talk about equality, implicit bias and white privilege.  So, what does all this mean and how does it impact your thinking, behaviours, and interactions?  Implicit bias is our unconscious thinking or beliefs towards others.  Unconscious means we aren’t aware it is happening.  This becomes a big concern because if we aren’t aware it is happening, how can we do anything about it? Implicit bias can create white privilege.

We have many unconscious thoughts happening all the time.  For most of us we usually start with the same foot every time we put our shoes on.  If we used the other foot first, it would feel weird and awkward.  This is something that we just do, we don’t think about it, we’ve just done it so much that it just happens.  Implicit bias is similar because it is unconscious daily thinking, so we aren’t even aware of the judgments or stereotypes that are occurring in our own thoughts. 

Knowledge Base.

A person’s knowledge base is a collection of all of his/her life experiences.   These can be significant experiences but also include things we’ve read, learned or were taught.   These can be in our conscious awareness but also in our unconscious awareness.  We can move unconscious awareness to conscious awareness by becoming aware and focusing on it.  Many people did this regarding touching their face during covid.  Touching the face was an unconscious act for most people until we became aware that it could increase the chance of becoming infected with covid.  Once people became aware of this, they became more aware of how much they touched their face; moving touching their face from an unconscious act to a conscious act.

We need to become more aware of our beliefs that are in our unconscious awareness and examine these.  We also need to become aware of our beliefs that are created because it is outside of our own life experiences.

Everyone does this, the problem is not so much the implicit bias but more the lack of confidence to become aware of and challenge these biases within ourselves.


Why do many people refuse to acknowledge or  challenge their implicit biases or white privilege?….FEAR.

Lack of confidence, insecurity, self doubt; these create intense fear and make it more challenging for people to become aware of their own implicit biases.  If you don’t believe you can handle challenging your thoughts, you won’t do it.

In fact, many of the implicit biases people have were likely created out of fear, a person’s own fears or the fears of the person who taught this way of thinking.

When people are struggling, living in fear, the more they turn inward, the more they struggle in trying to understand others, the less they are willing to challenge themselves, their own way of thinking.

Its not fear in others…but fear in self…

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