Confronting Implicit Bias in Society and Ourselves: A Four-Part Series
This series of four 60-minute interactive workshops is designed to support educators and mental health professionals recognize and readdress patterns of bias and inequity in their institutions, their peer networks, and themselves.
Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner (Kirwan Institute). While our brains rely on implicit processes to move efficiently throughout the world, when biases are formed through inaccurate information (such as stereotypes and outcomes of systemic oppression), these biases can be harmful barriers to establishing equal opportunities and a sense of belonging for every student. We cannot take lightly the role of implicit bias in our schools. Even among students with high standardized test scores, Black students are less likely to be assigned to gifted services in both math and reading, a pattern that persists when controlling for other background factors. Furthermore, Black children are 40% more likely to be referred for special education services than their White peers (Gordon 2017). The model minority stereotype for Asian American students leads to treatment of them as “foreigners” regardless of their upbringing, lack of support when they might need it because of assumptions around high-achievement, and marginalization leading to higher rates of depression and anxiety (Lee, 2015). According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2017, Hispanic students represented 25% of the total school population in the US but accounted for 23% of referrals to law enforcement, Black students represented 16% of the population yet accounted for 25% of referrals to law enforcement, and this disproportionality is perhaps most punctuated by Native students who comprised 1% of the population but were referred to law enforcement at double that amount. This begins a chain reaction pushing kids into the school-to-prison pipeline, impacting their lives well beyond high school. Thus we see example after example where implicit biases, though harbored deep inside our subconscious, have the power to cause a great deal of harm to communities who are already disenfranchised.
Fortunately, there are many educators clamoring to address this issue in themselves, their peers, and their organizations, and there is a lot of evidence that implicit biases can be unlearned gradually through de-biasing techniques (Staats & Patton, 2013). This learning series is designed for anyone working in the education field, and will cover the conceptual foundations of implicit bias as well as turnkey strategies for participants to unpack the layers in which we are affected by bias and the outcomes of systemic oppression, how these factors can cause us to unintentionally act in ways that contradict our values of inclusion, how to recognize and mitigate these biases in ourselves, and how to readdress biases we identify in others or within our organizations.
This series will occur on every Wednesday in October from 1:00-2:00 pm MT/2:00-3:00 pm CT
Session 1: Role of Bias in Education Disparities (10/5/22)
In the first workshop, participants will review what bias is, examine the role of bias in educational disparities, and consider the implications of their learning in their own contexts.
Session 2: Recognizing and Readdressing Implicit Bias (10/12/22)
In the second workshop, participants will delve deeper into how implicit bias is formed, how to recognize and readdress it in one’s self, and practice some talk moves to support them in addressing others’ biases.
Session 3: Impact Over Intention: Addressing Microaggressions in School (10/19/22)
In the third workshop, participants will explore how implicit bias can surface and harm others through microaggressions, how to address these on an individual scale, and consider strategies to establish a culture of belonging for every student, family, and staff member.
Session 4: From Theory to Praxis: Exploring Real World Scenarios (10/26/22)
In the fourth workshop, participants will have an open frame to explore the culmination of their learning, delve into resources to continue their work in this topic, and examine scenarios to authentically push their theoretical understanding of implicit bias into praxis.
Each workshop will build upon the learning and discussion from the past workshop(s). While attendance in all four workshops is highly encouraged, it is not necessary.
● Enhance awareness of identity, culture, beliefs, and biases
● Understand the relationship of systemic inequity, implicit bias, microaggressions, and impact on students and families
● Develop a plan to combat implicit bias, and systemic inequity in my school and community
● Identify practical, turnkey strategies to implement beyond the session
Dr. Rana Razzaque’s commitment to improving opportunity, access, and inclusion for all children has driven her educational and professional journey. This commitment has deepened over time due to her own lived experiences and the continuous learning she seeks out on a variety of topics related to equity and inclusion, the persistent disparities for marginalized communities, and the deep need to build understanding and empathy through courageous conversations with people from multiple perspectives. Rana was born in Bangladesh, raised in Maryland, spent her adolescence in Texas, and spent a couple of years in Arizona before moving to Denver in 2011. In the warmer months, you might find Rana hiking with her husband Rob and her dog Eeyore. She also loves reading (especially fiction and poetry), trying out new recipes to cook, going to concerts, boxing, and indoor rock climbing (even though she is afraid of heights).
Rana received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin and Arizona State University, respectively, and focused her thesis research on the impact of literary influence on colonizing South Asia in the 17th century. In 2017, she earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver and focused her dissertation research on how mindfulness influences the culturally responsive practices of educators. Rana has served as Social Emotional Learning Partner in Denver Public Schools, Program Development Coordinator with Sources of Strength, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at Jeffco Public Schools, and is now the Director of Opportunity, Access, and Inclusion at Englewood Schools in Colorado. Her work intersects culturally responsive and sustaining practices with social-emotional learning and transformative educational leadership. Rana’s mission is to ensure that youth and educators have an intentional focus on honoring diverse cultures and identities, utilizing challenges as opportunities to build resilience, and holistically supporting themselves and others to equitably reach their highest potential.