While the United States has a very long history with explicit bias and state-sponsored racism, we are only partially committed to believing the extent to which our internal biases impacts us subconsciously. We are unable to grasp that implicit bias functions like a powdered drug stirred into our societal drink and continuously seeping out our societal pores, ranging from law enforcement to education to religion, entertainment and media. It’s like our shadow and travels with all of us everywhere we go, regardless of our self-proclaimed objectivity or colorblindness.
It appeared recently in an incident where a former White House staffer moving into his new apartment on New York’s Upper West Side was mistaken for a burglar by neighbors who called the police.
Often called unconscious bias, it exists in how we process information on a subconscious level. Our brain constantly seeks shortcuts in dealing with the billions of stimuli we encounter daily, and we put people and things into groups, unaware that we are actually doing this or that these unconscious biases are actually affecting our behavior.