Race and Beyond: Exploring Our Unconscious Biases

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Center for American Progress

For some time now, I’ve been aware of Project Implicit. The university-led collaborative administers web-based tests that purport to reveal whether a person is unknowingly biased about a wide range of issues.

The ongoing study was started in 1998 by three social scientists, Tony Greenwald of the University of Washington, Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard University, and Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia. Over the years, I’ve steadfastly avoided taking the test; truth be told, I didn’t want to know how prejudiced I might be.

Much has been written on the effects of implicit bias and how the often-unconscious attitudes and beliefs that nearly all of us hold foster our comprehension of race, gender, class, ethnicity, and a host of other social constructs. The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University has undertaken perhaps the best and most comprehensive discussion of this subject. In fact, it was at a Kirwan-organized conference many years ago that I first heard about Project Implicit and grew wary of what its mind-probing test might reveal about me.

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