An advanced program is being offered by the Office of Equity and Human Rights to broaden  understanding on the topic of bias to positively inform future behavior.

Implicit Bias 201 will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the event will be held virtually through Zoom, with pre-registration required. 

The program presenter is Thomas Newkirk, who is a specialist in both implicit bias and in breaking down barriers that prevent us from taking that next step.  

About the program

Implicit bias is the primary cause of differences in how we treat women and persons of color in our society. It is a prime cause for the failure to promote women to certain key positions and to pay women equally. It is the primary cause for differential treatment specifically in school, healthcare, and the criminal justice system – if not society in general - for African Americans and other persons of color. Despite the science that confirms that bias exists and the data showing harm from implicit bias, as a society we seem incapable of dealing with it. Protests and media attention now drive us all to find an answer, but the question remains, “where do we go from here?”

This advanced bias program is intended to take a step toward that answer.

It begins by introducing the five barriers that stop us from moving forward, which include defensiveness and how we polarize questions of race and gender. It will delve into the lack of knowledge of where implicit bias comes from and how bias works in the real world. This program goes well beyond “bias 101” and explores the decision points most at risk from bias in business, medical care and criminal justice. It examines the nature and source of bias and describes how those sources connect to real world decisions. Understanding these issues can make it possible and more efficient for us to eventually manage or control our biases.

Participants can expect a level of readiness to take that next step toward a higher level of awareness. If a pill, a vaccine or a remedy for bias is someday achievable, it can only begin with first breaking down barriers that have stopped us and then, working together to find and implement a solution.

“We all have a duty to be aware and to take steps to reduce and manage our biases, just as we take care to cover our mouths when we cough or stay home when we are sick.  Accepting that responsibility will help us bridge the gap toward full equality in our society for women and persons of color.  Increasing our knowledge of bias and accepting responsibility can provide a real answer for those protesting and for all who support change. It is possible to trade the divisive labels of racist or sexist for a common duty of responsibility. There is a way forward without shame or blame that will permit us to embrace a more empathic appreciation for the risks of implicit bias, and to then take proactive steps to reduce those risks for the benefit of everyone.”  Thomas Newkirk

How to participate

This advanced bias education session is open to all, including those who may not have been exposed to this concept, but is primarily offered to those who have attended other presentations offered by Mr. Newkirk, or who have a basic knowledge or acceptance of implicit bias as a problem that warrants our time and attention.   

To register, visit:
Meeting ID:  975 9207 3739

Duplicate registrations will be deleted to afford this opportunity to as many participants as possible.

You can also call in by phone at 312-626-6799, ID 926 7577 9709. If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in this program/event, please contact Equity Director Stefanie Bowers at 319-356-5022 or Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

Date of publication

Thursday, October 08, 2020