13 opportunities to address unconscious biases in the modern workplace
This article outlines where unconscious bias shows up in the workplace and tips on how to work with it.
This article outlines where unconscious bias shows up in the workplace and tips on how to work with it.
An article summarising the successful overhaul of recruitment processes for a Quebec-based not-for-profit leading numerous projects on anti-oppression in community organisations. Features reflections and lists on specific testing, transparency, implementing equity principles, and being welcoming.
Evidence that “blind” auditions reduce gender-biased hiring in symphony orchestra compositions.
The outcomes of this study proved there is sex-biased hiring practices in the industry. Using a screen to conceal candidates from the jury during preliminary auditions increased the likelihood that a woman musician would advance to the next round by 11%. During the final round, “blind” auditions increased the likelihood of women musicians being selected by 30%.
A meta-analysis of 492 studies which found that reducing implicit bias did not alter people's behaviour.
'Our results suggest that current interventions that attempt to change implicit measuresin these domainswill not consistently change behavior.'
What happened when the Commonwealth Bank's board endorsed a target for 'The cultural diversity of our senior leadership to match the cultural diversity of the Australian population by 2020.' A case study of the strategies, policies, implementation and lessons learned.
Case studies and resources for building equitable organisations, strengthening boards and advisory groups and creating partnerships and collaborations, including a sample partnership agreement. Also includes advice on evaluations and the pros and cons of different methods of obtaining feedback.
Article on four 'detours' taken to avoid racial equity in schools, and five principles to embrace it, which can be applied to many other organisations.
'Often, the educators most adamant about racial equity are cast to the margins of institutional culture. They are the ones feeling isolated, wondering whether they belong...Colleagues call them troublemakers for naming what others refuse to name. Some are shushed or encouraged to adopt a color-blind perspective by equity-skittish leaders.'
A comprehensive yet simple guide that contextualises the race outcomes and leadership gaps in the US social sector, and offers approaches for building a 'Race Equity Culture' in your organisation. Identifies equity cycles, investments, levers, vocabularies and and tools.
This advocacy organisation/directory campaigns for positive examples of cultural representation and the right to tell their own stories and to combat stereotyping. Their directory features professional East Asian writers based in the UK.
Prompts and provocations to help challenge ideas about who could play a character before casting begins.
Discussion of the book 'The Relationship is the Practice' edited by Jade Lillie and Lia Pa'apa'a which explores community engagement, collaboration, intersectionality, cultural safety, racial literacy, access and inclusion. Also links to the book.
Conversation about Australia's most prestigious portrait prize, the Archibald.
[Entrants] 'want to be seen as being of the same ‘calibre of artists who have won before.’ Calibre strikes me as an interesting metric. For people of colour, it seems as if it’s not so much technical calibre that is being referred to here, but rather cultural calibre. If it’s only white artists who have won before, it’s the calibre and quality of whiteness one wants to be proximate and compared to.'
An analysis of systemic inequality, putting bias in the context of wider history, identities, structures and institutions.
'The current conversation is not only shallow, but actually harmful. We continue to primarily focus on individuals, when institutional and structural inequities are the bigger problem.'
Offers five key principles of cultural equity, demonstrated through engaging exercises like using Gamestorming cards and privilege beads to initiate discussion about cultural privilege. Also contains an MOU template for organisations to commit to equitable arts practices.
A Cultural Competence Self-Assessment Questionnaire featuring a version for direct service providers and another for administrators. Describing competency in terms of attitude, practice, policy, and structure, the instrument helps child- and family-serving agencies assess their cross-cultural strengths and weaknesses.
Kim Ho's research reveals that 70 out of 95 productions in Australia's 10 main stage theatre companies were both written and directed by white artists., 18% were written by culturally and linguistically diverse or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, while less than 14% had non-white directors.
Tips and best practice for recruiting diverse talent, including how to remove bias from the shortlisting process, how to advertise and recruit equitably (ie moving away from word of mouth, critically analysing selection criteria). Checklists on developing a person specification (position description) and developing a recruitment monitoring process.
Links to tools for data collection, including how to design survey questions, an overview of different methods of data collection and tips on focus group interviews.
Excellent resource exploring terms used in public debates about identity politics, political correctness, pronouns and what constitutes racism. An interdisciplinary guide to key concepts, influenced by decolonial methodologies, Marxism, feminism, queer theory and deconstruction. Features interactive links, illustrations, embedded videos and music.
A framework (also known as the 'Bennett scale') to describe how people experience and engage with cultural difference and become more competent intercultural communicators over time. Based on constructivist theory, the model offers six positions as a person's perception of cultural difference becomes more complex, moving from ethnocentrism to ethnorelativism.
The six stages are 'denial', 'defence', 'minimisation', 'acceptance', 'adaptation' and 'integration'.
In this comprehensive blog you'll find a smorgasbord of resources, articles, guides, toolkits and reports on topics including diversity training, workplace diversity surveys, intersectionality, how to empower diverse teams and unconscious bias.
Recommended resources on diversity and cultural literacy for US librarians, with a focus on evaluating material to recommend to children and teenagers. Resources offer tools for identifying unconscious bias or noticing the ways different groups are portrayed in books and resources.
The E.ON #ThisisMe initiative is a strong example of how leaders can role model inclusive leadership behaviors around cultural awareness in the workplace with use of this fun video campaign #ThisisMe, and training for all levels of an organisation.
Video of a talk and discussion with educator and writer Gloria Wekker at Kaaitheater Brussels on the paradox of former colonising countries: racial aggression amidst the denial of racism. Presents ‘white innocence,’ cultural archive, and intersectional feminism concepts, referencing contemporary examples.
An introductory educational resource covering leading practices in how to support transgender and nonbinary people. Includes a helpful guide to what to do if you've made a mistake:
1. Listen - Stay in your discomfort and be willing to listen
2. Be Accountable - Remember, intention is not impact. The best apology is one that doesn’t make excuses or invalidate the other person’s feelings.
3. Commit to Do Better - Treat it as a learning experience.
Professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and Slate music critic Jack Hamilton interviewed on how rock and roll changed from an inter-racial expression to the soundtrack of whiteness.
‘Pat Boone covering Little Richard is probably the most egregious example of this. “But he was able to get his music played on radio stations that wouldn't play the black originators of that music and he was someone who almost objectively made much worse versions of that than the originals.”’
Article looking at the effectiveness of racial bias training in the police in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
'At least 69% of survey responses said officers are given racial bias training, including in Minneapolis where Floyd was killed.'
A look into the value of the Harvard Implicit Association Test, which is better at predicting bias among large groups of people than individuals.
Hinton argues that implicit biases are learnt associations, rather than an unconscious cognitive 'bias'. These arise from information circulating in a person's culture, such as stereotypes. 'According to the predictive brain model, when the culture changes then the implicit stereotypes of its members will change (albeit slowly for some associations).'
A look at the difference between calling out problematic comments on social media and making lasting change.
'More insidious, however, is the palpable “look at me being a good ally” performative aspect that emerges, particularly when the target of the pile-on is a known problematic figure and frequent scapegoat. This is when twitter, in particular, can transform into a virtual gym for “white allies” to flex their solid(arity) muscles.'
An essay on the disjunction between ideals for incorporating diversity and dialogue into museum curation, and their practice. Examines the Queensland Art Gallery as a case, arguing that there is a need to rethink expectations of curatorial coherence and closure.
A list that outlines different ways that oppressive dynamics can play out in meetings and in organisations, with a focus on white/ male domination. Shared by a Quebec-based not-for-profit leading numerous projects on anti-oppression in community organisations.
Reaction to the announcement of a $150,000 grant for five emerging arts critics that went exclusively to white Australians.
'While the Herald is ready to acknowledge that the arts sector has a diversity problem and publishes suggestions on how to resolve the problem, it has no qualms about investing one hundred percent of its grant money from the Copyright Agency and the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas into exclusively developing the work of white Australian culture critics'
The first in a series of short films from the New York Times looking into implicit bias (aka unconscious bias). It looks at the difference between racism and implicit bias and how associations are unconsciously made when we are are exposed to racial stereotypes through media, education and art.
Research into the effectiveness of unconscious bias training.
'The latest fashion of ‘unconscious bias training’ is a diversity intervention based on unproven suppositions and is unlikely to help eliminate racism in the workplace. Knowing about bias does not automatically result in changes in behaviour by managers and employees.'
A short guide and checklist for developing an anti-oppression policy in your community organisation. Developed by a Quebec-based anti-oppression leader, it covers assessing organisational strengths, identifying areas for improvement and where to focus trainings.
A short article outlining how oppositional consciousness can be thought of as a technology that marginalised leaders can develop and practice in order to create strategies to navigate and reconfigure power while resisting its dysfunctions.
A review of 985 studies on prejudice-reduction strategies, such as 'diversity training', 'antibias' or 'cultural competence' interventions, which found that there is no evidence about whether or not they work.
'We conclude that the causal effects of many widespread prejudice-reduction interventions, such as workplace diversity training and media campaigns, remain unknown.'
A guide for talking about race, racism, and racial justice in the American media. Features key terms and concepts, harmful racial discourse practices, online resources, and provides guidelines for reporting, language, conversation, and covering issues with a racial lens.
Video of a talk by Sara Ahmed at Kaaitheater Brussels that approaches complaint of unfair, unjust or unequal working conditions as a form of diversity work, and the ordinary and often painstaking labour of trying to transform institutions so they are more accommodating.
Screen Australia's landmark report looks at diversity in 1961 main characters in 199 Australian TV dramas between 2011 and 2015. It found a disappointing disparity between representation and reality:
Non-Anglo Celtics On screen: 18%. In the community: 32%
Europeans On screen: 6%. In the community: 12%
Non-Europeans, eg from Asia, Africa, Middle East On screen: 7%. In the community: 17%
Indigenous Australians On screen: 5%. In the community: 3%
Part of a New York Times series looking at implicit bias (aka unconscious bias) which presents research evidence that we can successfully correct for our unconscious biases, if we know about them.
A syllabus prepared for white Americans as a response to the election of Donald Trump. Covers how white supremacy and systemic racism operate – including complicity, a history of #BlackLivesMatter, relevant organisations to support as well as various books and films.
Extract from the book 'The Relationship is the Project' on Cultural Safety and an overview of its four core principles:
1. Critical Self-Reflection
2. Engaged Communication
3. Minimised Power Imbalances
4. Decolonised Practice
'Cultural safety helps us develop different ways of thinking and talking about discrimination and then act to effect change.'
Toolkit to address institutional racism, using the University of Leeds as a case study.
'The toolkit is structured around the process of constructing an anti-racist action plan for your institution.'
Review of the reviewers, and the dangers of a national art debate that remains 'largely segregated'. It begins with a look at the 2019 Whitney Biennal in the US.
'Several white reviewers faintly praised the show but argued that it wasn’t “radical” enough. In response, Simone Leigh, an artist featured in the Biennial, suggested that reviewers could not detect radicalism in her work because they were unfamiliar with the art, artists and themes she draws from, a criticism others echoed.'
Review of reviews of US work American Dirt and Australian novelist Anna Krien's Act of Grace.
'The white standpoint of the writer, her appropriation of the stories and voices of non-white characters, have mostly gone unacknowledged in this literary reception.'
An article reflecting on the #OscarsSoWhite rewriting of the Hollywood film industry’s equity narrative, contrasted with its public identity crisis today; where the multicultural image it aspires to – eg. Oscars’ 2020 co-hosts, is undermined by the observable evidence – eg. 2020 nominees.
The author of ‘White Negroes', Lauren Michele Jackson, speaks about the limitations of the anti-racist reading list.
She says that instead of reading for genre, syntax, lyric, metaphor 'all these things that we talk about when we talk about white writers writing literature, it reinforces the idea that black writers are just a means for white people to be better at being white people and it turns us all into magical negros.’
The Other Box are an award winning company celebrating people of colour in the creative industry. They have their fingers on the pulse and offer a wealth of support and information around cultural diversity and working in the creative industries'. Their unconscious bias training comes recomended.
A study of 11,000 people over 11 years by the Australian National University has found that 75% of Australians have an implicit bias against Indigenous Australians, as shown through the Harvard Implicit Association test.
'the study also found that things like gender, occupation, religion and level of education did little to change a person's implicit bias.'
An NPR interview with painter and sculptor, Titus Kaphar, whose work wrestles with America’s history of slavery and racism. Speaking to history's untold narratives and how to reveal unspoken truths, he asks, “Is there a way to amend our public sculptures?”
The British Independent Film Awards offers a training program to all votes and jurors to help them recognise and mitigate against potential bias based on genre, budget, commerciality, reputation or the gender and race of key creatives or lead actors.
This training is supported by ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI.
A look at the theory underpinning the concept of unconscious bias, which formed the basis of the Guardian's Bias in Britain series. It looks at whether unconscious bias is truly unconscious, and evidence that unconscious bias training can actually have a damaging effect on diversity and inclusion.
This article and video gives a very clear definition of unconscious bias.
Characteristics of implicit bias outlined by Ohio State University's Kirwan Institute for the Study or Race and Ethnicity.
A short article that defines implicit bias, otherwise known as ‘implicit social cognition,’ outlining key characteristics, examples and barriers to opportunity. Features the ‘Bias Cleanse’ in partnership with MTV, a seven-day race and gender bias cleanse with daily tasks to de-bias oneself.
Analysis of the development of the concept of 'unconscious bias', and the shift of culpability for racism from institutions and structures into the unconscious.
A glossary for anti-racism, including 'systemic racism', 'structural racism', 'institutional racism', 'white privilege', 'white fragility', 'microagressions' and 'white-splaining'.
'white fragility supports racism because it shifts the power dynamic in an insidious way...All of a sudden, the conversation becomes less about what the person of color experienced, but the white person's reaction, and, in so doing, is an attempt to undercut the validity of the person of color's experience.'
A discussion of the work of a sensitivity reader, and the way it fits into the broader context of editing for accuracy.
'For example, I might explain that putting a space in ‘Chinese Australian’ and ‘trans man’ helps affirm those identities as part, not whole, of someone’s character, compared to ‘Chinese-Australian’ and ‘transman’. I might notice that the portrayal of a cultural activity is off: Australians talk about going ‘to the footy’ but not ‘to the ball game’.
An article looking at the compensation paid to former slave owners by British taxpayers until 2015 - a sum equivalent to £300 billion.
'After the abolition of slavery, Britain paid millions in compensation – but every penny of it went to slave owners, and nothing to those they enslaved. We must stop overlooking the brutality of British history.'
The 2011 article in which Robin DiAngelo introduces her theory which became her best-selling book.
'White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.'
Hari Kunzru, Kamila Shamsie, Aminatta Forna and others on writing outside their experience.
Ask 'Did I find it easier to write about this because I filtered it through a white gaze and thus made it palatable for a largely white publishing industry? And most of all, and this bears repeating, don’t get defensive. Because you may be making a larger conversation about marginalised communities, and their ability to tell their own stories in their own voices, all about yourself.' ~ Nikesh Shukla
A survey conducted by the University of Chicago and the team behind ‘Sesame Street’ found that most parents don’t talk with their kids about aspects of social identity, such as race, class, gender and religion. This NPR episode looks at why parents can be scared to answer kids’ questions like ‘why is that person darker than me?’ or ‘why is that person wearing that hat?’.
Commentary on an incident in New York when white woman Amy Cooper called the police on African American Christian Cooper, claiming he was threatening her life, though her employer requires employees to take anti-bias training every year.
'there has been little rigorous evaluation of the training strategies deployed to combat it, and as a result we simply don’t know enough about what makes a difference. “It often has the feeling of being a one-and-done kind of thing: ‘We did it'."
A discussion of the benefits of using a sensitivity reader.
'This is an ethical question – perpetuating harmful stereotypes of any minority, whether they are LGBTQI+, Indigenous, disabled, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) or even simply women – can contribute to real-life suffering.'