Bias Creates Blinders in All of Us

Posted By: Paige Stephenson Facing Race Together,

I am fascinated with how the brain works.
Hearing research on brain development, how adverse childhood experiences impact that development, and most importantly, how building resiliency skills can help combat those negative effects - this gives me hope for our communities.
When my boys were younger, we loved watching the TV show "Brain Games." There were so many interesting examples of how our brains “filled in the blanks” to complete a picture, or how we missed very obvious events because we were so focused on some task. Our brains love to identify patterns, create go-to "cause and effect" solutions, and “tried and true” formulas to solve problems. Our brains create short-cuts or quick thinking because it takes less energy…our brains can be lazy.

Unbeknownst to us, our brains also pick up on subtle cues from our culture. An unconscious bias is planted. A “go-to” narrative has been created that impacts our thought processes and behaviors, and we don’t even realize it. Left unchecked, our “quick thinking” often results in “bias” that takes over, leaving damage in its wake, and we don’t even realize it. 
Bias creates blinders in ALL of us – and I mean ALL. To remove our blinders we must first realize and acknowledge they exist. 
Understanding how to reduce personal and organizational bias is a critical step if we aim to build and lead equitable and inclusive organizations.

Paige Stephenson
President & CEO,
United Way of the Piedmont
Together SC Board Member

Watch "Removing Our Blinders: Discussion of Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt's Book, Biased", hosted by Paige. October 1, 2020