In Part One of this two-part series with Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, Stanford Professor and author of “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See Think and Do” shares a deeply personal story about police racism and abuse of power from her book.
Unconscious or implicit bias can be defined as the beliefs and feelings that we have about social groups that can influence our actions even when we’re not aware of it. Even Jennifer’s own children display biases like this, as described in her book.
Just because you have a bias doesn’t mean you’re racist, but it could grow into something that becomes more racist. A person’s environment can influence their bias and training about bias has been proven to effectively reduce bias.
In Part Two of this two-part series with Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, Stanford Professor and author of “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See Think and Do” details the findings of more studies referenced in the book about people displaying bias and acting on it.
Bodycam footage of police interactions during traffic stops oftentimes is being looked at only in severe cases. In her research, however, she looked at a lot of the footage in order to see how the majority of police-community interactions unfolded with the goal of determining how to deescalate situations. Many Americans think that police brutality to black people is more pervasive than it is when in reality, less than two percent of cases that Eberhardt reviewed in her study escalated to violence.
Bias can not only influence how people see other people but through her studies, Jennifer shows that bias also affects how people see objects in the world. In one study, people’s valuations of homes were affected by their understanding of whether a white or black family had previously lived in the home.
There is also a K-12 school study that shows teachers who will be more severe in the punishment of a black student than a white student.
There are studies proving that training about bias has effectively reduced bias. However, the science of this study has not been perfected yet. We don’t have agreed-upon metrics for how to evaluate bias training and its effectiveness. Researchers simply ask people if they like the training.