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Inside O-pa: Implicit Bias

Posted On Sep 30, 2020, 11:49 AM by IDEA committee

Roundtable Discussions - Our first one! 
In August, Omaha Performing Arts Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility committee hosted a roundtable discussion on the topic of implicit bias. If you are new to reading our IDEA committee blogs, you can learn more about our mission and the important work that we are doing here.  
Implicit bias, sometimes called unconscious bias, describes when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. Research shows that everyone has implicit biases, sometimes in surprising ways and that these biases affect how we understand situations, make decisions, and behave. 
We asked our staff to complete Harvard University's Implicit Association Test – Race and accept our invitation to attend a roundtable discussion with their results.  
Since we are still working from home, our discussion took place via a web meeting. O-pa’s education coordinator, Taylor Wyatt led the conversation, and our staff did a fantastic job participating. 
Here are three things we learned:  
1. It is okay to be surprised by your results. 
Even if your results showed an unexpected affinity towards one racial group, it does not make you a bad person. In fact, it helps you look inward to identify your personal biases and redirect them.

2. Share your story! 
We opened the conversation up to allow staff to talk about a time when someone had made an assumption about them that was not true. Many of our staff said that this was the most impactful part of the discussion. 

3. Having meaningful conversation drives change! 
One hundred percent of survey respondents said that they learned something from the roundtable discussion that will help them promote an inclusive environment in their daily work at O-pa.  
We’re excited to continue this important work and turn this into a series of more roundtable discussions moving forward.  
You can take the same test we did here: