'Unconscious bias' trailer tours campuses
Five universities recently participated in a program that tests students for potential hidden prejudices as a way of promoting “diversity and inclusion.”
The Check Your Blind Spots tour, sponsored by CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, features a 30-foot-long trailer and a test to determine students’ level of “unconscious bias,” which organizers hope will “raise awareness about the impacts of unconscious bias in advancing diversity and inclusion within our campus and community.”
"We hope students will be empowered with new knowledge to help them identify and strip away their biases."
The first leg of the tour, which took place in October, started at Villanova University, then made stops at Bentley University, Miami University of Ohio, Binghamton University, and ended at Pennsylvania State University.
CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion counts companies such as AT&T, Adobe, Bank of America, CBS, Cargill, IBM, Mastercard, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) among its members, and utilizes resources created by PwC for the Blind Spots tour.
According to the organizers, “unconscious bias”—the belief that one can hold prejudices towards minorities even if one is not aware of them—can “potentially influence our decisions.”
The trailer itself includes various tests students could use to examine their own “blind spots,” such as the implicit bias test, which features 15 different blind spots ranging from workplace bias to race and gender.
The test suggests that “experts” believe that unconscious bias informs about 90 percent of a person’s decisions, which an accompanying video warns can lead people to operate on “autopilot, determining where we sit, who we eat lunch with, who we turn to for advice, and who we chose to offer a helping hand.”
Additionally, PwC’s website includes a test to challenge assumptions about diversity and equality, with one question asking “by some estimates, gender equality won’t be achieved until [what year]?” with a correct answer of 2133, more than 115 years from now.
During the tour’s most recent at Pennsylvania State University, Assistant Dean for Diversity Enhancement Programs Jamie Campbell told Penn State College News that she hopes that the tour will help students “strip away their biases.”
“We hope students will be empowered with new knowledge to help them identify and strip away their biases in order to better understand themselves and the part they can play in creating a more welcoming environment for every member of the Penn State community,” she remarked.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KylePerisic