Webinar presenter Amy Morgan answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Honoring Our Differences. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Amy sometimes we might realize that we have a bias that there is such a thing as implicit or unconscious bias. How do we even begin to address these biases if we are not even aware that they exist?
Amy Morgan: That is the video that I suggested, that Aaron’s going to link to. Watch that video. It shows, you can actually take the test to see, what your implicit biases are, for that awareness because as you said we don’t know. First, gain an awareness, try to be really aware of what those biases are. You may think you don’t have any, you think you’re fine with everybody, think of everyone as the same or think of everyone as equal. Watch how you react to different people when you see different people. Kind of like the slide where I said, “Which of these people would you go talk to. Which of these people would be the last person you go to talk to?” Just be aware of yourself, watch yourself as you go through your day and go through life, go through stores, do whatever you do and be aware of that comment that you think in your head. Hopefully in your head only. The things that you think as you encounter different people. Kind of like, “Of course they are a slow driver because they are old.” Those are kind of the comments that you hear, that will bring you awareness. Once you have an awareness, that’s where you can start changing your biases, but you have to have the awareness first.
Audience Question: It seems it is becoming increasingly acceptable to generalize and stereotype certain types of people. How do we speak out when we see others in our organization are acting in a biased way that isn’t necessarily good for our agency?
I don’t know that it is becoming more common because we’ve always had prejudices and biases in people in very distinct categories that get treated differently. To answer the question which is what to do which is a great question; One, lead by example. Anytime you see someone treating someone differently do the opposite. Treat people just like I said as individuals, try to find something in common. Try starting some sort of activities in your organization, work with HR because all HR departments that are typically trying to push diversity training or integration training want these sorts of things. For one reason because they are required to, but hopefully it is because the organization wants to take that on as a project. Try to get activities where you do integrate different types of people to find common things, things in common that they can share. If you have to set up, I’m just going to use a kind of silly example, the birthday party committee or whatever. Don’t let them just include the typical people, try to pull in people who wouldn’t normally do that. Just try to mix things up a little more and separate the cliques and the groups and stuff in whatever way you can. You are probably going to have to start with your HR department because they are the ones who can set the guidelines for these sorts of things and enforce the policy. Leadership’s going to set the example but the best thing that you can do as an individual is to lead by example. Do it yourself and stand up for people. If you see somebody being treated differently in a bad way because of the category that they fit into, stand up for them. It may make someone mad at you, it may distance you, it may categorize you with them. Just like workplace bullying, just try to have the strength to stand up for someone who isn’t able to stand up for themselves.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Honoring Our Differences.