Why The Term Implicit Bias Rubs Me The Wrong Way

Implicit bias, while it may be measured as a latent psychological construct –whose overall goal is to document the intersubjective experience of non or subconscious racism, we must be extremely careful when we continue to say “implicit bias” .

From my view, the use of the term implicit bias, a post racial and post modern term, that holds great sway apparently in purported anti-racism and diversity training, then jettisons this as a universal sub-conscious human process —that we all have and do.

While that might be true in some essentialist perspective, it has the danger of watering down the need for Whites to do hard, laborious,and emotional work in deconstructing the meaning of their blind acceptance of whiteness, challenge conscious thoughts of white supremacy, and minimize the everyday benefits accrued to white privilege.

The use of a psychoanalytical or psychodynamic concept like implicit bias, also may erroneously suggest that all of us have it and therefore, designate it as an archetype or universal occurrence.

Rather the aim in the use of our language, if the goal is to engage in active, anti-racist work, is to not obscure the real effects that racial prejudice has on conscious processes.

To engage with White folks who seek to engage in White racial identity deconstruction, teaching them that implicit bias might be viewed as the primary cause of their prejudice is a form of educational, white supremacist influenced, complicity.  A convenient way, a side step in assuaging White guilt and pain associated with the awareness of being raised as prejudice, and it helps to marginalize the urgent necessary to eradicate conscious racism, prejudice, and discrimination.

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