Working together to build an inclusive university community
Perspectives Sessions - Danforth
West Campus Rm 350 (across from the WC Lunch Room) for the following:
- Tuesday, September 19 – 4:00pm – 6:00pm
- Thursday, September 21 – 9:00am – 11:00am
- Monday, September 25 – 2:00pm – 4:00pm
- Wednesday, September 27 – 11:00pm – 1:00pm
Danforth/DUC 3rd Floor for the following:
- Wednesday, September 20 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm
- Thursday, September 21 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm
- Wednesday, September 27 – 9:00am – 10:00am
Tools that can help us mitigate our unconscious bias
Everyone has unconscious bias. Generally speaking a bias is an assumption, a belief or a prejudice about a category of people. Space has to be made for the possibility that we are making decisions and verbalizing based on unconscious bias. Mitigation tools include:
- Watching Your First Thoughts/ Self-Reflection
- Hit the Pause Button
Watch Your First Thoughts
Watching your first thoughts is the first strategy in defeating unconscious bias, especially when encountering someone different from yourself. Why? Because the first thought might be a clue to the existence of a bias. So rather than running on autopilot, you can pay attention to that first thought as it waffs up from your unconscious. Of course, not all of our first thoughts are biases but here’s a simple test you can use to find out. When the first thought comes into your mind, ask yourself, would I say or feel the same way if the person was part of a different group or social identity?
“Watch our thoughts for they become our words, watch our words for they become our actions, watch our actions for they become our habits, watch our habits for they become our character, and our character becomes our destiny.” - Gandhi
Now once you’ve become aware of a bias, you can hit the pause button.
Hit The Pause Button
Stop. Take a breath. If you can pause for even just a few seconds, you have a chance to override your primitive brain and stop an unconscious bias from influencing your next words or actions. Ask yourself, how many people do I actually know who conform to my bias? I’m sure that if you include all those individuals with whom you’ve already had sustained and meaningful contact with, you’ll find that the number that conforms to your bias is very small. This tiny shift, just a pause, could be the difference between a bias decision, and seeing the situation, or the person in front of you for whom and what they really are.
“Right now, there are a wide range of reactions among our students, faculty and staff. But Washington University is a place where we draw strength through our differences of opinion and perspective. This is what drives our intense pursuit of learning and discovery. In the midst of change and uncertainty, this is our constant.” - Mark S. Wrighton - Chancellor