I think that many people do not want to admit to bias because we are afraid this makes us appear at the very least, ignorant, and at the very most, evil. To be honest, from what I’ve read in the last year, I think that the opposite is true; anyone who claims they are not biased falls somewhere between uneducated and nefarious. In a post that I wrote last summer, I mention two books that detail ways that our brains are pre-disposed toward bias. We need to recognize that we each harbor biases that are genetically and environmentally nurtured, identify the ones that are harmful to ourselves and others, and take action to rectify these.
This is where the Bias Toolkit can come in very handy. There are three main parts to this resource: Introducing Bias, Historical Perspective About Race in America, and How Does Bias Manifest in our School? Each part includes a Powerpoint with discussion topics and an accompanying PDF.
As educators, we must confront our own biases and how they may be hurting our students. This is not limited to racism, and it’s not only white educators who may be doing harm. In a fictional episode of The Good Doctor, a Black doctor is accused of racial profiling in the case of her Black patient. Other episodes have highlighted how religion, gender identity, and autism lead to incorrect assumptions about people that can have dire consequences. Though we are generally not making decisions in life or death situations, educators can have an enormous impact on future generations by modeling how to treat others equitably and making sure we “do no harm” to the young people in our charge.
It’s so difficult to look in the mirror and see someone who has inflicted pain in the past. But it’s better to see that person than someone who knew they could change and did nothing to stop it.
I will be adding this post to my growing collection of Anti-Racism resources. Please take a look, and feel free to offer suggestions!