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Bias Through Association
Bias Through Association

Implicit Association Tests Reveal Unconscious Biases

"It may not be surprising to learn that most people in the United States — 80 percent of whites — harbor a pro-white bias. Perhaps more surprising is that a large minority of blacks — 40 percent — hold a pro-white bias." (From The Bay State Banner). Researchers at Harvard University's Project Implicit have have found that biases come from implicit associations we all hold, and that even when we are intentional in our relations with others our attitudes and behavior are driven by un- or subconcious ideas and associations we hold. Not surprisingly, some classes of people benefit from these biases, whereas others are penalized.

(Read how Project Implicit reveals implicit associations.)

What may be surprising is to learn that many people agree with the biases that negatively affect them. From The Bay State Banner, "On the whole blacks are not immune to implicit biases against their own race. (According to) Project Implicit data from Implicit Association Test takers, 40 percent of blacks showed a preference toward whites, while 36 showed a preference toward blacks and 24 percent showed no preference. Among whites, 80 percent showed a preference toward whites, while 7 percent showed a preference toward blacks and 13 percent showed no bias... Latinos and Asian test subjects showed a 72 percent pro-white bias."

Test your biases: Implicit Association Tests (IAT) exist for age, race, skin-tone, weight, gender-career, sexuality, disability and religion. Take a Project Implicit Test. Anti-Racism / Anti-Oppression / Multiculturalism (AR/AO/MC) resources from the UUA. Read this list of Cognitive Biases. Read the full article, "Scientists Study Bias with Association Test" in The Bay State Banner.    

About the Author

  • Ted joined the staff of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in February 2010. He brings more than twenty years' experience using media to create social change by creating communications strategies and content for progressive non-profits, political campaigns, and cause...

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