We all have implicit biases. Implicit biases are the assumptions, stereotypes, and unintentional actions we make towards others based on identity labels like race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or ability. They can be both positive and negative, and develop over the course of our lifetime through our own experiences as well as internalized messages from family, the media, pop culture, and more.
Our implicit associations are stored in our subconscious — where we do 98% of our thinking. Unfortunately, this means that we may act on our biases without even realizing it. Often, our implicit biases contradict what we think and believe. This can create situations that make it difficult for people to find a job, secure a loan, get a fair trial, or simply go about everyday activities.
The good news is that we can all work to change our implicit biases. Although we can’t control the fact that we have them, we can learn about our biases, and identify moments where they change the way we see and interact with people.