What does being unconsciously biased mean?
Being unconsciously biased means without realizing it having a bias towards someone. This can be from anywhere from stereotyping and thinking someone who is Asian has to be good at Maths or favouring something that recently happened to you.
The truth is we all have some sort of bias. We have evolutionary been designed to be able to categorize things and people fast. This helped us stay safe from dangerous animals. It also allows us to make quick decisions using shortcuts.
Is being unconsciously biased a problem?
The reason it is a problem because we without realizing it are judging people. If we interview someone we might think they aren’t confident because they are female. This might be not true at all. But because we have a bias in our heads we see them like that.
Through a bias we can put a group of people at a disadvantage.
When our unconscious bias goes unchecked it could be helping us make decisions that we don’t even realize we are making.
Are you unconsciously biased – understanding by examining types of biases
There are different types of unconscious bias that might be occurring. Understanding what type of biases there can help you pinpoint when one is occurring and change the way you act.
This is when you favour something most recent. For example, you interviewed someone last they are fresh in your mind so you choose that candidate.
You favour what happened first. Someone 2 years ago arrived late somewhere. Now they have become punctual and arrive on time. Whoever based on the first event you still think they are unreliable
When you already believe something and only accept information and evidence that confirm that perspective. You believe women should only work admin jobs. So while writing an article you seek out information that shows that women should do this job and do this job.
Whatever happens first becomes the starting point for the next thing. For example, when negotiating a salary if you are the one who starts the negotiation and starts with a big amount your employer might end up giving you more because that big amount becomes the focal point that the rest of the negotiation is compared to.
When you look back it seems as if you knew something all along.
How to fight the unconscious bias
Now we know everyone does have a bias and that isn’t the issue. The issue is when we let the bias impact our decision-making without realizing it. Or we don’t even realize we have a bias. We can’t change the way we behave if we don’t even know there is an issue.
When making decisions like hiring think about gender and race and whether that impacted your decision. You might not think it did but it could have. If you choose A person compared to B reflect on why
Talk to people with a different perspective
If you think you are biased against a certain group makes friends with those type of people. Getting to know a group changes your bias.
It is always good to talk to people with different perspectives and being willing to listen to other perspectives is a great trait. Challenging your own views is important.
Learn about different biases. Reading this blog is a great start because it means you are interested in learning about different biases and whether you have had them. If you are aware of the types of bias you will actually know when you are being biased.
Talk about unconscious bias with other people. Talking about these things can help. Now don’t go talking about it to the person you are biased against because it’s not their duty to educate you. But talk to other people and read up on it.
Reflection is the most important thing in this matter. So think about 5 situations where you were biased and how you could have acted differently. You can write it down to make your thoughts more concise.
When a similar instance comes again you can act differently. Your actions are in your control so is how you have. When you have an instinct to say something you can stop and think am I being biased?
Comment below regarding other biases and let’s start a conversation