Disproportionate Discipline: The Role of Implicit Bias Tia
Disproportionate Discipline: The Role of Implicit Bias Tia Elena Martinez The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at The Civil Rights Project at UCLA Defining implicit bias Implicit prejudices are social preferences that exist outside of conscious awareness. Implicit attitudes, of which implicit prejudice is a special case, are understood to reflect associations between social categories (e.g., Black/White, old/young) and evaluations (e.g., good/bad, smart/dumb). Implicit bias does not mean that people are hiding their racial prejudices. They literally do not know they have them. In fact, the vast majority of those with implicit biases, hold no explicit biases. How does it work? By relying on the same cognitive processes that make us efficient learners and ensure our survival when facing threats
We learn through patterned repetition. When two concepts become associated with one another in memory we create automatic scripts in our brains such that the presentation of one of those concepts facilitates the recall or recognition of the other These automatic scripts mean that the association and related recall operates super-efficiently without our awareness or intent In the context of racial bias, people with a negative implicit racial bias toward Blacks will more quickly and easily respond to concepts associated with the negative stereotype of Blacks than concepts that are not associated with that stereotype The brains threat detection center the amygdala the part of the brain that triggers the flight/fight response also plays a prominent role in implicit bias.
Sources: Phelps, OConnor, Cunningham, Funayama, Gatenby, Gore, & Banaji, 2000; see also Stanley, Phelps, & Banaji, 2008 Ignore the word and simply name the color that the word appears. Ignore the word and simply name the color that the word appears. . How is implicit bias measured? The implicit association test Harvard Implicit Association Test https://implicit.harvard.edu In the IAT, respondents are asked to categorize a sequence of images (as Black or White faces) and words (as either good or bad) by pressing one of two prelabeled buttons. Individuals who associate Black with bad, for example, will respond much more slowly when Black and good share the same response button Built on the principal that it takes longer to say we recognize a weak mental association than a strong
mental association So if we are faster at recognizing associations between blacks and negative things, such as between blacks and crime, than at recognizing associations between blacks and positive things, such as between blacks and career success, then we have an implicit negative association towards blacks. Does this type of bias really impact our behavior? Physicians: Treatment Decisions As pediatricians pro-White implicit biases increased, they were more likely to prescribe painkillers after surgery for vignette subjects who were White children as opposed to Black children Police Officers: The Decision to Shoot Police officers were more likely to mistakenly shoot unarmed Black suspects than unarmed White suspects in an computer simulation. Level of implicit bias predicted biased shooting behavior. Hiring Managers: The Decision to Hire Employment recruiters who favored native Swedes over Arabs on an implicit
stereotyping task were significantly less likely to offer Arab applicants job interview opportunities Scores on an implicit stereotyping task involving race and intelligence were correlated with students likelihood of selecting resumes with African American names, especially among participants who felt rushed while completing a resume selection task Source: Jost, Rudman, Blair, Carney, Dasgupta, Glaser & Hardin, 2009; Penner, Dovidio, West, Gaertner, Albrecht, Daily, & Markova, 2010; Berrtrand, Chugh, and Mullainathan, 2005. Eberhardt, Davies, Purdie-Vaughns, & Johnson, 2006) What about in education? Race disparities are significantly larger when we look at suspensions for subjective, discretionary offenses Number of out-of-school suspensions per 100 students 14 White: Out-of-School Suspensions per 100 Students 12 Black: Out-of-School Suspensions per 100 Students 10 10.1
suspensions 8 Gap 7.7 6 4 Gap 2.9 4.5 suspensions 2 1.6 suspensions 0 Offenses involving weapons, drugs, and violence with injury 2.4
suspensions Willful defiance North Carolina example: Racial disparities in use of suspension for first time offenders by type of offense Percent of first time offenders cited for committing the offense who received an out of school suspension as punishment 50% 45% 40% 38% 40% 43% 33% 35% 30%
Disruptive Black Display of Affection Good news is implicit bias is quite malleable to context and environment; Four conditions that encourage implicit bias 1. 2. 3. 4. Time constraints Ambiguity Cognitive overload / busyness Lack of attention being paid to the task Source: Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000; Johnson, Whitestone, Jackson, & Gatto, 1995; van Knippenberg, Dijksterhuis, & Vermeulen, 1999; Bodenhausen & Lichtenstein, 1987; Gilbert & Hixon, 1991; Sherman, Lee, Bessennof, & Frost, 1998 Can we do anything to reduce implicit bias and related behaviors?
What Worked Reducing the contextual factors that encourage implicit bias: Reduce sources of stress (including time constraints) in the decision-making environment and identify sources of ambiguity and impose greater structure in the decision making context Flip the script: Provided experience with counter-stereotypical exemplars, people thought about famous Black people and infamous White people Increase intergroup contact with stereotyped group: Whites assigned to live with a Black roommate exhibited less implicit prejudice than Whites assigned to live with a White roommate; Even just having a black researcher administer the test decreased levels of implicit bias. Intrinsic motivation: Strong intrinsic motivation to reduce prejudice is effective in decreasing implicit bias and in decreasing behavioral expressions of this bias. Study participants in whom autonomous motivation to regulate prejudice was induced displayed less explicit and implicit
prejudice compared with no-treatment control participants. Semester long seminar: a seminar on prejudice and intergroup conflict was associated with reduced implicit prejudice at the end of a semester Source: Lai, Calvin K. and Hoffman, Kelly M. and Nosek, Brian A., Reducing Implicit Prejudice (May 29, 2013). Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7, 315-330, 2013.; Legault et. al, 2011; Fazio, 1990; Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006; Perugini, Richetin, & Zogmaister, 2010; Bartlett, 2009; Monteith, Ashburn-Nardo, Voils, & Czopp, 2002; Monteith & Mark, 2005; Uhlmann & Cohen, 2007; Lindner, Nosek, & Graser, 2012 Can we do anything to reduce implicit bias and related behaviors? What Did Not Work Color blind approach: Students exposed to a color blind approach actually increased their implicit and explicit bias compared to those exposed to a multicultural approach. Instructing people to assert that they are objective decision-makers prior to a hiring decision actually increased gender and age discrimination
Extrinsic Motivation and Positive Feedback: Inducing extrinsic motivations to regulate prejudice or giving feedback suggesting that one is progressing on egalitarian goals can lead to greater implicit racial prejudice. Whereas the motivation to be non-prejudiced may lead to reduced discrimination thinking of oneself as non-prejudiced may ironically increase discrimination. Source: Lai, Calvin K. and Hoffman, Kelly M. and Nosek, Brian A., Reducing Implicit Prejudice (May 29, 2013). Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7, 315-330, 2013; Apfelbaum, Sommers, & Norton, 2008; Macrae, Bodenhausen, Milne, & Jetten, 1994 Fazio, 1990; Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006; Perugini, Richetin, & Zogmaister, 2010; Bartlett, 2009; Monteith, Ashburn-Nardo, Voils, & Czopp, 2002; Monteith & Mark, 2005; Uhlmann & Cohen, 2007; Lindner, Nosek, & Graser, 2012 Only two interventions managed to change implicit bias over the long term and both were about relationships White and Asian American participants showed less implicit prejudice against Latinos after they got to know a Latina peer with whom they had a common interest, such as the same favorite book, and after they worked with her on a group activity that incorporated elements of Mexican culture Surprisingly, the effects of the brief laboratory interaction lasted over time. Participants not only expressed greater interest in interacting with
Mexican Americans, but also had somewhat more positive attitudes toward undocumented Mexican immigrants in an unrelated survey six months later Didnt work if the project was not focused on a non-Mexican cultural group and didnt work if they felt the topic had not been freely chosen Source: Brannon and Walton, Association for Psychological Science Press Release, August 23, 2013. Relationship dynamics matter The dynamic behind disparate rates of suspension is a highly recursive, interactive processes between students of color and teachers over time involving: social context Minority students worries about being seen and treated stereotypically, about belonging
G. Walton, J. Eberhardt, J Okonofua, 2013 Teachers implicit racial biases, judgments about and treatment of students of color Impact of student race on teacher perception of misbehavior and escalation of punishment Study of teachers perception of and response to minor incidents of student misbehavior; examples include sleeping in class, wandering around classroom, talking to friends Demonstrated that repeated infractions produced by a Black
student are more likely to lead to teacher irritation and to a concern that the student will hinder their ability to teach which, in turn, leads to harsher disciplinary responses. Significant difference between how teachers perceived black and white students for the SECOND incident of misbehavior No difference between how teachers perceived black and white students for their first incident of misbehavior Source: Okonofua and Eberhardt, Two-Strikes: Race and Disciplinary Action in K-12 Schooling, In Press.
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