How does unconscious bias feature in our society? 

Most people are not aware that they have unconscious bias. The clue is in the name – unconscious means that the thought exists in their brains but we don’t really recognise them or realise our behaviour is influenced by them. When it comes to race for example, unconscious bias can have a serious effect on the life chances of Black People and People of Colour (BPOC). For example, the police force in both the United States and the United Kingdom have been criticised for their actions based on unconscious bias.  

With the police, the example is that because of their unconscious bias, they have been taught to think that black people are more likely to commit or be involved in criminal activity. Therefore, they are more likely to arrest black people or use force on them than they are compared to white people, even when the crime in itself was not very serious. 

In the USA for example if you are black you are 20% more likely to be stopped by the police when driving than if you are white. Black drivers were 2 times more likely to be searched by the police but were actually less likely to be carrying illegal items such as guns or drugs.  

Unconscious bias affects our education too. It has been proven that BPOC children are less likely to be supported in their chosen career paths than white children. Teachers have a tendency to mark up the work of black children and be harsher to white children. This is because their unconscious bias says that white children need to be held to higher standard. This is not equality in education. With over 90% of teachers in the UK being white, your educators need to be aware of unconscious bias and take action. 

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