How Ohio U Student Groups Are Confronting Bias

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A group of aspiring professionals at Ohio University held a workshop on Thursday to confront and discuss their implicit biases in school, the workplace, and everyday life.

The Ohio U Black Student Union partnered with the Black Student Communication Caucus and gathered in the Multicultural Center at 7:00. The meeting started off with a brief discussion about current sexual assault allegations in Hollywood and how they should be handled. Then, BSCC president Ayanna Morgan walked up to the front of the room.

She began by explaining how implicit biases affect people constantly in the way they see the world. Participants then took the Harvard Online Implicit Association Test on their phone or laptop.

There are different types of tests — sexuality, race, gender, and age are a few of the many. Respondents are asked a few questions about the topic, then the test measures “the strength of associations between concepts.” The room was silent as participants clicked through and reacted to different words.

Then the discussion portion of the evening began. Students shared their results. Some were surprised by the findings, while others were not.

Crystal Vincent, a second-year psychology and women’s studies student, said her test showed a correlation between women and family, and men and career.

“I expected with taking the Gender and Career [Test], I expected to see like, because I’ve taken with social justice, I expected to see like, I would vote for women with career and men with family. Like changing the norm,” she said.

The discussion ranged widely, and questions such as can you change an implicit bias? and should you even try if you’re not outwardly acting upon those biases? were raised. Morgan said the event was overall a success.

I think that people really want to talk about their biases and try to confront them,” she said. “Some do and some don’t. Some think that there’s nothing wrong with theirs, but everyone has their own opinions. So I think that it went well.”

The IAT is sometimes taken and discussed in different courses, but it is less common for other groups to have a workshop like this one. This minority group, one that has to deal with other people’s biases on a daily basis, was taking the time and effort to have a difficult conversation. Other groups made up of the majority oftentimes do not confront topics like these.

“It affects us, so minority groups want to talk about things like this, but the people that should be in the room, aren’t,” Morgan said.