Exploring Our Biases
Some 120 Bronx Community College students, faculty and staff gathered in cyberspace on Thursday, March 25 to hear author and scientist Dr. Mahzarin Banaji give a presentation on the focus of her long career: “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.”
“My main point was that people’s intentions are good, their values are good, but their behavior is often inconsistent with those values,” says the Harvard educator. “This happens because human beings don’t have a good grasp of how their minds work. For the last 40 years, I’ve been doing research to uncover what our implicit feelings and thoughts might be about groups of people and individual members of particular groups.”
Much of that research is derived from a test developed by Dr Banaji that has been taken by literally millions of people over twenty years. (You can take the test yourself by going here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/)
“The data demonstrates that people like you and I carry biases that I call ‘the thumbprint of our culture’ on our brain,” Dr. Banaji observes. But the good news is that her research also indicates “Bias is coming down in our country.”
The 90-minute lecture followed by 30 lively minutes of questions was one of BCC’s last events of this year’s Women’s History Month.