Biased

Biased

Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do

Book - 2019
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You don't have to be racist to be biased. Unconscious bias can be at work without our realizing it, and even when we genuinely wish to treat all people equally, ingrained stereotypes can infect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior. This has an impact on education, employment, housing, and criminal justice. In Biased, with a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Jennifer Eberhardt offers us insights into the dilemma and a path forward. Eberhardt works extensively as a consultant to law enforcement and as a psychologist at the forefront of this new field. Her research takes place in courtrooms and boardrooms, in prisons, on the street, and in classrooms and coffee shops. She shows us the subtle--and sometimes dramatic--daily repercussions of implicit bias in how teachers grade students, or managers deal with customers. It has an enormous impact on the conduct of criminal justice, from the rapid decisions police officers have to make to sentencing practices in court. Eberhardt's work and her book are both influenced by her own life, and the personal stories she shares emphasize the need for change. She has helped companies that include Airbnb and Nextdoor address bias in their business practices and has led anti-bias initiatives for police departments across the country. Here, she offers practical suggestions for reform and new practices that are useful for organizations as well as individuals. Unblinking about the tragic consequences of prejudice, Eberhardt addresses how racial bias is not the fault of nor restricted to a few "bad apples" but is present at all levels of society in media, education, and business. The good news is that we are not hopelessly doomed by our innate prejudices. In Biased, Eberhardt reminds us that racial bias is a human problem--one all people can play a role in solving
Publisher: New York : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2019
ISBN: 9780735224933
0735224935
Characteristics: 340 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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IndyPL_CarriG Dec 09, 2019

Hopefully the new must-read book for social psychology classes, Biased is a clear-eyed and thorough examination of implicit bias in the United States. Most of the book examines race, however there is some information on implicit bias towards gender as well. As a middle-aged, middle-class, educated white woman, I'm aware of my privilege in cursory way. Seeing the numbers is a whole different story.

Dr. Eberhardt has taken on the challenging task of training people in implicit bias - from people who are convinced they are not biased and are offended by her presence, like one particular police department before she wins them over, to people who are eager to make changes to improve their practices, like AirBnB. She shows compassion and understanding toward people who are defensive about their bias while stating the irrefutable facts clearly and accessibly. She tells stories of her own life and her own family - such as when her young son mentioned that a man on the plane with them "looked like Daddy" - he was black but other than that didn’t really look like Eberhardt’s husband - and then stated in complete innocence, "I hope he doesn't rob the plane." When she asked why he said that, since Daddy is a law professor not a thief, he got upset and said he didn't know. She interviews people who were impacted by the Charlottesville white supremacist rally in 2017. She talks about police shootings and why many people of color are reluctant to call or cooperate with the police. She talks to the police about their fear, discomfort, and frustration when they are met with a sea of silence. These conversations, had by a woman with great empathy and a strong understanding of the psychological underpinnings of bias, are like a wrecking ball when it comes to denial and anger. This is a book that the country needs.

A warning for people, some of this book is extremely difficult to read. It talks about terrible things that will make you feel bad. It’s uncomfortable and sometimes upsetting. But they are things we need to think about, talk about, and know. Despite the uptick in racially-motivated hate in the last few years, Eberhardt does give us some room for hope in the future. The immediate firing of Rosanne Barr by ABC after she referred to a black woman as an ape, Starbucks’ dramatic response to close all its stores for a half-day for a nationwide training on implicit bias after the racially-motivated arrest of two young black men at one of their stores, inspire Dr. Eberhardt to believe that the nation is growing less and less tolerant of racism and hatred. Let’s hope we continue on that trend and that we can stop this new growth in hate groups. Everyone in public service, or really anyone who ever has to interact with other humans, should read or listen to this book.

Much of what our minds consist of, is conditioning. Some find this comforting, some, constricting. If your nature is that of a boa constrictor (in your relations with your fellow humans), then the former is likely to be the case. The immense popularity of eastern religions as a way of liberation can be understood from this point of view. Lately, alas, this popularity has waned. Is this due to the '15 minutes of fame' syndrome, or is there something more fundamental going on underneath our culture, where the earthquakes tend to begin. The perspective of this book is necessarily limited, as it analyzes the branches, rather than the root or trunk of the phenomenon. For many, it seems that is all that is called for. But, let us think deeper, and longer, shall we? Let us not jump to any more conclusions.

l
LauraSteinert
Aug 06, 2019

Extremely well-written, clear concise language, and thoroughly documented explanation of bias and how we all suffer from it. The book, however, is preaching to the choir. Those of us who have spent a lifetime trying to overcome our bias will see ourselves. Those of us who think we aren't biased or claim to be "color blind" will find it upsetting. Racists, intentional or otherwise are going to bother reading it at all.
If you read nothing else this year about race, history, politics, or the United States please read the chapter (just 19 pages) of this book called "The Scary Monster."

r
raziyasunderji
Jul 20, 2019

A must read to understand the implications of implicit bias as well as historical context.

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