understanding implicit

n the Subject to Debate feature in Ch. 5, we examined the police shootings of black individuals in U.S. communities. The research that attempted to explain why some places experience more of these shootings than others relied on what are known as implicit association tests, or IATs. These tests measure biases that we are not consciously aware of, by timing the speed of our reactions to associations of individuals with concepts. For example, a person who is biased against women may take longer to associate images of women with positive words such as joy and happiness. Such subtle biases, in a split-second decision such as whether to fire a weapon, may lead to the disproportionate killing of people of color by the police. In this exercise, you will explore your own implicit biases by taking an implicit association test through Harvard University’s Project Implicit (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/ ) website. After taking a few of these tests, reflect on your experience and answer the questions that follow. 1. Go to Harvard University’s Project Implicit website at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/ and click to “continue as guest.” Feel free to register, but it is not necessary to take the tests. Once you click through, you will see a list of several IATs. Since the focus of this chapter is on racial and ethnic differences, take the “Race” and “Skin-Tone” IATs first, then feel free to take one or two more. If you are comfortable disclosing the results of your IATs, discuss them with your classmates.2. Reflect on your experience of taking the IATs. The test urges you to go as quickly as possible, while maintaining accuracy. Did you find yourself slowing down at some point? What do you think that means? Did you find yourself feeling anxious at any point during the test? Please write a two-page paper exploring your experiences and answers to questions 1 and 2. Now that you have learned about how common implicit biases can be, what do you think can be done to lessen them, or to diminish their effects?

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