Knowledge, skills and awareness related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are at the foundation of careers in Education and Human Services. After all, the focus of this career cluster has always been, people; and people are different! I say it all the time – People are different. So much of what we do in this field is ‘do our best to meet people where they are at, not where we expect them to be’ (or envision through our own lens of life!). To be successful, we have to train ourselves to become aware of our own implicit biases, privileges and identities as we work to engage with others around us. This holds true if you are a teacher, psychologist, counselor, community organizer, child advocate or in any variety of occupation in human services.
According to Project Implicit, “Implicit bias is an automatic reaction someone has toward other people. These attitudes and stereotypes can negatively impact our understanding, actions, and decision-making. The idea that a person can hold prejudices they don’t want or believe was quite radical when it was first introduced, and the fact that people may discriminate unintentionally continues to have implications for understanding disparities in so many aspects of society, including but not limited to health care, policing, and education, as well as organizational practices like hiring and promotion.”
Interested to learn more about your own implicit biases? A team of researchers from high ranking Universities and International Institutions formed Project Implicit where you can take an online test to assess your internal biases regarding myriad topics such as race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and many more.
Coursera also offers a series of courses related to Race, Inequality, and Social Justice.
What I am proposing here is a lifelong process. Becoming aware and unlearning our own implicit bias takes commitment, resilience and intention. The most important piece is to engage in the process. Find your squad and do it with others!