4/28/16 Lecture: Cat Adams & Professor Janet Stemwedel

"Recognizing and Addressing Unconscious Bias"

Cat Adams

Unconscious Bias Project

Interview and Discussion with:

Professor Janet Stemwedel

Dept. of Philosophy (San Jose State University)

April 28th, 2016

Every day, we are exposed to negative stereotypes, or widely held but fixed and oversimplified images or ideas of certain groups of people. When we encounter individuals from these groups, our minds can automatically invoke these stereotypes, influencing how we think about and act toward others. These automatic reactions can become unconscious bias, defined as prejudice in favor of or against a person or group, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Even people that consciously believe that prejudices such as racism are wrong can still unconsciously act with bias, because stereotypes are ubiquitous and are constantly reinforced.

Unconsicous Bias has been well documented within STEM, especially toward white women and people of color. Unconscious bias can prevent people from entering STEM, hold them back from rising within STEM, and through many small hurtful interactions, actively cause folks to leave STEM. At this talk, Cat Adams from the Unconscious Bias Project will discuss how to recognize words and actions that arise from unconscious bias, and then how to reduce the harmful effects of bias, whether you are a student, professor, or staff member.