ColeSpeaks Real Conversations about Implicit Bias | Boys and Young Men of Color

April 16, 2023

ColeSpeaks 2023 Conference: Empowering Boys/Men of Color to Break the Cycle of Incarceration Across Generations

Today, I would like to share a case study that explores the effects of implicit bias on Boys and Young Children of Color and the importance of intervention by the Black community.

In recent years, there has been growing awareness of the impact of implicit bias on individuals and society. Implicit bias refers to the unconscious attitudes and stereotypes that individuals hold towards members of certain social groups, such as race or ethnicity. These biases can affect decision-making, behavior, and even physical responses to others, often leading to unequal treatment and outcomes.

Research has shown that implicit bias is prevalent in many institutions, including education, healthcare, and criminal justice. One area that has been particularly affected is the experiences of Boys and Young Children of Color.

According to a report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Boys and Young Men of Color have lower academic achievement and higher rates of disciplinary action compared to their peers. This is due, in part, to the implicit biases that educators hold towards these students, such as assuming that they are less intelligent or more likely to be troublemakers.

Similarly, in healthcare, implicit bias can lead to disparities in diagnosis and treatment. A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that Black patients were less likely to receive pain medication compared to White patients, even when they reported similar levels of pain. This is because healthcare providers may assume that Black patients are less likely to experience pain or are more likely to abuse medication.

In the criminal justice system, implicit bias can lead to harsher sentences and increased surveillance of Boys and Young Men of Color. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Black men were 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than White men, and that this disparity was driven, in part, by implicit bias.

These examples highlight the pervasive impact of implicit bias on Boys and Young Children of Color. However, there is hope. Interventions that address implicit bias can be effective in reducing its effects.

One such intervention is the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The IAT is a computer-based test that measures the strength of associations between mental representations of concepts, such as race or gender, and evaluations, such as positive or negative. The test measures how quickly individuals associate certain words or images with certain groups, revealing unconscious biases that individuals may not be aware of.

Research has shown that taking the IAT can lead to a reduction in implicit bias. For example, a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that taking the IAT led to a decrease in implicit bias towards Black individuals among White participants.

However, while interventions such as the IAT can be effective, they are not enough on their own. It is important to also address the root causes of implicit bias, such as systemic racism and inequality.

This is where the Black community can play a crucial role. As members of the community that is most affected by implicit bias, Black individuals and organizations have the power to create change.

One example of this is the My Brother's Keeper initiative, launched by former President Barack Obama in 2014. The initiative aims to address opportunity gaps faced by Boys and Young Men of Color through partnerships with local communities and organizations.

Additionally, Black-led organizations, such as the Black Youth Project, are working to create safe spaces for Boys and Young Children of Color to thrive. These organizations provide mentorship, leadership development, and advocacy to ensure that Boys and Young Children of Color have the tools and support they need to succeed.

In conclusion, implicit bias is a pervasive issue that affects the experiences of Boys and Young Children of Color in many areas of life. However, interventions such as the IAT and community-led initiatives can be effective in reducing its impact. It is up to all of us to work together to create a more equitable and just society. Thank

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