10 Ways People Are Biased

College professors regardless of race, ethnicity or gender are more inclined to respond to inquiries from White Males.
On December 10, 2014, the University of Pennsylvania-The Wharton School released a report that studied 6,500 professors in US universities from 89 disciplines and 259 institutions. These professors were contacted by fictitious male and female students seeking application to a doctoral program. The students used White, Black, Hispanic, Indian and Chinese names. The study showed professors were more responsive to White males than the other diverse categories of students.

Black children are less likely to receive medication in emergency rooms.
An April 28, 2012 Pediatric Academic Societies inquiry examined the treatment of 2,000 children from 550 hospitals who visited the emergency room for abdominal pain for the period of 2006-2009. They found that Black children were 39% less likely to receive pain medication as compared to White children with similar conditions.

While White people are more likely to do drugs than Blacks and Latinos, they are less likely to be incarcerated for that drug use.
A March 2009 Human Rights Watch report assessed drug charges from1980 to 2007 and discovered that Blacks were arrested at rates 2.2 to 5.5% higher than Whites.

Black men are sentenced to lengthier prison terms than White men.
A 2012 United States Sentencing Commission study looked at sentences between December 2007 and September 2011. The investigation concluded that Black men received 20% longer prison punishments than those of White men convicted for similar crimes.

White people particularly those in law enforcement, view Black children as older and less innocent than White children.
A February 24, 2014 analysis by the University of California at Los Angeles tested 176 police officers, mostly White males, average age 37, in large urban areas, to determine their levels of prejudice and unconscious dehumanization of Black people. The research found a tendency for White male police officers to view Black youth as responsible for their actions earlier in their lives than White youth of the same age.

Black children are more likely to be tried as adults and given more harsher sentences that White children.
A May 23, 2012 Stanford University study found that the proportion of Black juveniles sentenced to life without parole for killing a White person is nearly twice the rate at which Black juveniles overall have taken a White person’s life. The report also indicated that the odds of a White juvenile receiving life without parole from killing a Black victim was only half as likely as the proportion of White juveniles arrested for killing Blacks.

White people are more likely to support the criminal justice system, in the context of harsher sentences when they think it’s disproportionately punitive toward Black people.
A 2007 study by Universities of Kentucky and Pittsburgh researchers published in the American Journal for Political Science confirmed through phone interviews that White respondent’s support for the death penalty increased when they realized it discriminated against Blacks.

The more “Black” a person charged with murder looks, the higher the probability they will receive the death penalty.
A 2005 study performed by scholars at the Universities of Stanford, California at Los Angeles, Yale and Cornell Law School looked at 44 death penalty cases involving Blacks convicted of murdering White victims in Philadelphia, PA from 1979-99. Raters were shown photographs of the perpetrators and asked to evaluate them on physical stereotypical features of Black people. They were unaware that the people in these photographs were found guilty of murder. The results indicated that the more stereotypically Black a photo was perceived, the more likely that person was sentenced to death.

Researchers then flipped the experiment by asking raters to view the photographs of 118 Blacks convicted of murdering Black victims. When evaluators were shown pictures of these Black perpetrators and asked to rate their stereotypical features, distribution of death sentences was evenly distributed regardless of physical traits.

The more educated a Black person appears to be, the more they are associated as being light skinned by White people.
A 2014 study by researchers at San Francisco State University confirms this notion of “skin tone memory bias.” In the experiment, students were shown one of two words-“ignorant or educated” accompanied by a photo of a Black man. They were shown seven additional photos of the same face with different variations of skin color ranging from light to dark. These photos also included the original photo. Students were then asked to identify the first photo they were shown.

The results indicated that students who were shown the word “educated” most often chose the photos with a lighter skin-tone when asked to remember the first photo they saw.

White people see Blacks and Latinos with lighter complexions as more competent than those with darker complexions.
A 2006 analysis by the University of Georgia found that dark-skinned Black men with MBAs get hired less frequently than light-skinned Black men with only a bachelor degree. The results were confirmed by a group of undergraduate students that were asked to rate one of two resumes supplemented by one of three photos of a theoretical job seeker whose skin color was either dark, medium or light.

The findings showed a preference for light skinned Blacks since they have more in common with Whites which creates a comfort level over more dark-skinned menacing looking Blacks.

The lesson for us all is bias rarely exists these days in the form of burning crosses, white hoods, nooses, internment camps and segregated bathrooms. Bias is implicit within us all despite the fact that we think bias is everyone else’s problem.

So what should we do? Consultant Joe Gerstandt has some ideas:

Are you aware of your own biases, beliefs and behaviors? What gift do you bring to the world for the management of bias? If you had to write your own eulogy, what would it say you have done about making the world less biased?

How can you verify whether or not you are more cognizant of your biases, beliefs and behaviors? Is there any evidence you are making progress? Do you have someone in your life that can keep you aligned with your personal mission to identify unconscious bias and actions?

Do you see your efforts to get in touch with your bias as drudgery? Or do you view your journey as an adventure? Do you avoid getting out of your comfort zone when it comes to self-examination?

How well do you help others in their bias management efforts? Do you make it safe for others to confront their biases, beliefs and behaviors?

At the end of the day it comes down to the following question about bias. What would have to happen for you to take greater interest in the people whose differences you intentionally or unintentionally care least about? The only person in this world that can answer that question is you. The quicker we answer this question for ourselves, the sooner we can start reaping the dividends from a world that values everyone’s place in the created order and not just a chosen few.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply