To be biased is a human trait, but it’s in how we handle it in early education that makes the most impact.
The beautiful thing about the DC area is it is alive and rich with diversity — the twirling cultures and ethnicities are what make this city great. And, no matter how much you’re exposed to different things, you still only have one set of experiences — your experiences — and this is where we’re all affected by implicit bias.
At Community Education Research Group, we have three locations — Antioch, Minnesota Avenue, and Good Hope Road — three diverse facilities that follow the DC Common Core Standard but also explore diversity and how it impacts our preschoolers in early education. Dive into the discussion of implicit bias in today’s post.
What Is Implicit Bias?
Implicit bias is a set of stereotypes that affect and shape our actions, decisions, and understanding of people and things in an unconscious manner.
An implicit bias is different than known biases because they are unconscious and they are not concealed for political or social correctness. They result in early conditioning, experiences, and exposure media that share these biases.
For example, recall the Starbucks debacle in 2018. Two black men entered a Starbucks in Philly where they were meeting up with a friend for a business meeting. The two men were casually waiting and chatting when the manager asked if they could get anything started. The men politely turned down to order, stating they were waiting on a third person.
Shortly after, the manager told one of the men they were not able to use the restroom because he was not a paying customer. The situation escalated and the manager called the police, to which six officers arrived at the scene.
There is much more to the story, but at the end of the day, this explicitly displays implicit bias. Perhaps the manager would defend himself that he was not racist, but because the men were black and in his eyes loitering, not really there for business, he called the police.
Another example would be telling a person of color that they sound so smart, conveying that you don’t believe they’re intelligent to begin with.
Implicit bias can play a role in many classrooms, beginning in early education, and has destructive effects.
Implicit Bias in Preschool
Implicit bias in early education is found in both the students and in the teachers. One example that outlines implicit bias, is in a recent study. Preschool teachers were asked to identify behavioral issues in both black and white students. In the video, none of the children were misbehaving, however, the teachers spent more time fixed on black children thinking the behavioral problem would be with them.
This is just one facet of implicit bias, and studies such as the one above show how it is perpetuated in the classroom.
Together, both teachers and students can learn together and identify their implicit biases as they actively and empathetically address them.
Combating our implicit biases in the classroom begins with the educator first addressing themselves and where they can take action, and then guiding their students in creating a diverse and inclusive classroom.
There is much more to discover, so stay tuned for part two!