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July 2019 Round Table Discussion

Summary from July 9th Diversity Discussion on Implicit Bias:


Assistant District Attorney J. Mars presented on Implicit Bias. The presentation summarized some of what we have been discussing over the past four months with practical tools for checking our biases.


  • Implicit Bias is another way of saying unconscious/ subconscious association in the brain. It is an efficient way for our brain to store and recall information about people, places, and experiences. Mental associations of certain groups with specific traits (stereotypes) below conscious awareness is the clinical definition of implicit bias. Discrimination and Racism are actions that manifest in people who have unchecked implicit bias.

  • If you live in society, and have a functioning brain, you have implicit bias.

  • The key is to identify which areas of bias you have the most (gender, age, race, language, etc.), and to engage in behavior that helps you address that bias.

  • Implicit Bias does not make you a racist but all racists have implicit Bias.

  • You can unpack/check your bias by doing things such as:

1. Individuation: strategy that relies on preventing stereotypical conclusions by

obtaining specific info about group members - basically have a conversation with

someone instead of relying on your previous assumptions.

2. Perspective Taking: involves taking perspective in the first person of a member of a

stereotyped group - example ADA Mars shared about an exercise where a class in

training was asked how society sees young black men – they were “branded” as

Thugs, lazy, worthless, etc. We were asked to imagine how we would feel knowing

the world felt that way about us before they even knew us. Put yourself in somebody

else’s shoes.

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