'Unconscious bias tour' asks students to 'check their bias' by signing a pledge

UNC-Chapel Hill is hosting the "Check Your Blind Spots Unconscious Bias Tour."

The purpose of the tour is to help students become aware of their "unconscious biases."

An organization focused on increasing “diversity in the workplace” is making several visits to universities, using virtual reality to convince students to sign a pledge to “check” their “unconscious bias.” 

The University of North Carolina hosted one of many stops on the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion’s Check Your Blind Spots Unconscious Bias Tour on Feb. 20. CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion bills itself as “the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.”

“A unique collaborative of nearly 600 CEOs have signed on to this commitment, agreeing to take action to cultivate environments where diverse experiences and perspectives are welcomed and where employees feel comfortable and encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion,” organization spokeswoman Idalia Hill told Campus Reform.

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The organization’s “Check Your Blind Spots” tour launched in fall 2018, and is in the process of making 100 stops around the country.  Hill told Campus Reform that the organization estimates that approximately one-third of these stops will be college campuses.  

According to UNC-Chapel Hill, the experience lasts 5-30 minutes and “involves technological gadgetry” meant to “measure response and provide insight.” The mobile tour involves a “series of immersive elements” such as virtual reality and other gaming technology, that serve to expose attendees to the “nuances of unconscious bias.” Attendees are also asked to sign a pledge, vowing to “check [their] bias.” 

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Those who sign the pledge promise to take note of their own unconscious biases and “take meaningful action to understand and mitigate them,” as well as to ask themselves “do my actions and words reflect the value of inclusion?”

Hill said college campuses are a large target demographic for the tour because of CEO Action’s goal to “help raise students’ awareness of unconscious biases” and to “empower them to take part in diversity and inclusion conversations both in their communities and with their future employers.”

A UNC spokesperson told Campus Reform that the school’s goal behind hosting the tour was “to expose students, faculty, and staff to the nuances of unconscious bias and to help better understand, recognize and avoid our blind spots.”

“The tour activities available on the bus gave our community a chance to recognize how biases affect our day-to-day lives—all in an effort to help the University foster a more inclusive campus community,” the spokesperson explained. 

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