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Unconscious Bias


scenario Scenarios

  • Do I have to take 'Unconscious Bias' training?

oneliner One-liners

  • You may need to but you dont have to say you're guilty

body In-brief

  • 'Unconscious Bias' training is probably not aimed at helping people but is intended to instil the idea that there is prejudice against several characteristics that are deemed to be under oppression and need protection. The organisers can also feel virtuous in that people have now been 'corrected'.  But perhaps the organisers have this very problem in unconsciously assuming that the staff needs indoctrinating!

    However the very idea makes no sense, it's like someone asserting "you're in denial" - you can't answer yes or no! It's also taking a natural mental process - how we assess and simplify the world, which we've been doing since we started making sense of the world as infants - and making it problematic.

    We are constantly making judgments about things based on our experience of them and having done so do not have to constantly reassess them - we can get on and do something useful!  If the facts change, our judgment is updated.

    Before new students at St Andrews University attend lectures, they must sit a test – not of their subject knowledge, but of their attitudes and values. Students must confirm they agree with statements such as, ‘Acknowledging your personal guilt is a useful starting point in overcoming unconscious bias.’ Disagreement is incorrect: it scores zero. The test must be taken again until students demonstrate the correct way of thinking.   Joanna Williams CEIO

    This kind of training is illogical, telling you information that has to be accepted as fact, without the normal evidential check. The result is also not dissimilar to a person applying for parole from prison who learns all the right things they need to say to the Board ('I've learnt my lesson and won't do it again') without necessarily believing any of it.

    So your employment contract may require you to attend training, but you don't have to sign any evaluation form you are not happy with. 'Live not by lies' as Solzhenitsyn said.

    The UK Government has stopped this activity among its staff.

    Juliette Samuel unpacks some of the wider issues:

shield Shield verses

  • I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Mt 10:16

deeper Digging deeper

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