November 2020

November 2020
  • Implicit Bias
Mrs. Marta Rhea-Johnson

LETTER FROM MRS. MARTA RHEA-JOHNSON

 

Each month I’d like to share DEI information and resources with you that may be helpful in this journey we call life. Some information you may already know others may be new. This month’s topic is Implicit Bias. I believe knowledge is power, and “when you know better, you do better”.

Our responsibility as educators is to develop the minds and hearts of our students. We are all responsible for helping kids live our Lasallian mission and grow in the ways of Jesus. Together we can help them become the best version of themselves. Looking at and addressing diversity issues is not an easy task, but nothing in life ever is. This starts by being educated and aware.

We all grew up in certain families, schools, and communities with specific beliefs and values. Whether you still subscribe to all those beliefs and values is up to you, but the impact can still be the same. As educators, we make judgments and evaluations constantly throughout the day about our instruction and our work. Taking a moment to be more deliberate and peel back any layers of hidden bias we have could create a more positive experience for the students in our school community.

Diversity is an all community responsibility, so whether, in the classroom, sports fields, after-school activities, or the overheard conversations in the hallways, it is our job to confront and stop bias every time. Let’s take this DEI walk together. United together we are stronger. Stay safe and Healthy.

TOPIC OF THE MONTH

Implicit bias is an idea about or a preference against groups of people, even though we may not know they are there or want them there. It is natural and instinctual (distinguishing between friend or foe is a basic survival skill), but it also can be the foundation of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Implicit bias starts early in life, as all of us get messages from conversations, jokes, and media about who is represented and who is not, as well as how each group is represented. Once learned, bias resists change; any evidence contrary to the belief will be regarded as an exception to the “rule”.
For example, a belief that girls cannot be great athletes doesn’t go
away when someone meets an awesome female athlete; she is just regarded as an exception to the “rule”.

Bias can have a huge effect on performance. Research shows that when teachers educate students from visibly diverse backgrounds, there often are subtle cues, who we call on for certain types of questions, the difference in how we greet students when they come in the door, how we ask them about home or family, etc. that tell students that they are different from the others in the eyes of the teacher.
For example, if students of color feel that teachers’ expectations are lower for them, statistically, they will perform lower. If girls perceive that they can’t perform well in science or math, they won’t. If Muslim students in a Catholic school feel that they are not called on to speak in religion class because of their beliefs, they likely will stop trying to engage in and contribute to dynamic, multifaceted classroom discussions. When bias or even perceived bias exists, it weakens performance.

 

DEI VOCABULARY

Implicit Bias- is an idea about or a preference against groups of people, even though we may not know they are there or want them there.

Diversity- The range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.

Equity- The fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.

Inclusion- Involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive university promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.

 

TAKE THE IMPLICIT BIAS TEST

Test Yourself for Hidden Bias

Take a Test

 

VALUABLE RESOURCES

View Resources