Conference Focuses on Implicit Bias and Social Justice

By Claudia. J. Gonzalez and Nayoon Jin

This story originally posted to New America Media

OAKLAND, Calif. — Why are Black and Latino men across the country shot and killed by police officers at rates far surpassing whites? Why are Black and Latino students in California’s Central Valley 548 percent and 469 percent, respectively, more likely to be disciplined than their white peers?

The answer, according to experts and criminal justice advocates at the Mind Science and Social Justice Conference, is implicit bias.

“Implicit bias is costing us lives and millions of dollars,” said Pastor Michael McBride of Black Lives Matter and the community-based organization PICO California.

McBride is a native of San Francisco and has gained prominence for his work against gun violence and mass incarceration. He was among some 100 academics, organizers, activists, journalists and civil rights attorneys who gathered for the Mind Science and Social Justice Conference in Oakland last week to discuss the impact of implicit bias on the nation’s criminal justice system.

Implicit bias refers to ingrained prejudices informed by societal attitudes and stereotypes that affect how we interact with others. The concept has gained increased attention following the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of local police in Missouri, New York and Baltimore.

Social justice activists and experts have long pointed to the negative effects of implicit bias for minority groups in a variety of areas, including employment opportunities, immigration, and health care access.

A recent Stanford study notes that teachers across the country are three times as likely to discipline African American students than they are whites.

Christopher Bridges, 30, is the Butler Koshland Legal Fellow for the Equal Justice Society. Bridges helped organize the two-day conference, which ran through June 2. He said the aim was to connect people working in the criminal justice field to the research around implicit bias.

According to Bridges, EJS has been a strong advocate of engaging social scientists and community leaders “to talk, share, and engage in the research and data that is flourishing around implicit bias and to better understand how it affects people who are more disparately impacted by laws and procedures, and authority,” said Bridges.

“We hope this conference can locate a wider, deeper network of individuals who are able to share and produce resources, outcomes, and policy measures, “ continued Bridges. “ That might be effective in the political work that we do, primarily with a social justice focus.”

Panels included “Mind Science and the Social Justice World,” “Girls and Implicit Bias,” and “Bias, Anxiety and Intergroup Relations.”

The conference was organized by EJS, the National Center for Youth Law, the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, and the Perception Institute, and made possible by The California Endowment.Videos from some of the panel discussions will be available shortly. For more information you can visit the EJS website.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

Related Posts