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2.0 Understanding, Unlearning, and Awareness

In this section of the course, we’re going to highlight implicit bias or unconscious bias, microaggressions, and intersectionality and we’ll walk you through how to facilitate the Implicit Bias workshop, developed by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health.

Implicit bias refers to unconscious attitudes or stereotypes that affect our actions and decisions for or against a particular person or group. We may explicitly endorse certain values, such as inclusivity, but may hold an unconscious bias that doesn’t align with these values.

Implicit bias is something that each of us has within us. Our intention with this course is to help ensure that each of us becomes more aware of these biases so that when they become a thought in our head, we pause, question them, and prevent ourselves from making decisions that are prejudiced and discriminatory.

Below we’ve included some videos that we found helpful and intriguing when it came to understanding implicit bias, microaggressions, and intersectionality.

We all have implicit biases. So what can we do about it? | Dushaw Hockett | TEDxMidAtlanticSalon

Eliminating Microaggressions: The Next Level of Inclusion | Tiffany Alvoid | TEDxOakland

Intersectionality 101

As we were building this course, I was catching up with a friend and they asked me how work was going. I told them that I was in the middle of building this course and I felt very passionate and intrigued by it. I explained what implicit bias was and gave them some personal examples I had.

They then told me that earlier that week, they had gone through a local drive-thru to pick up dinner for themselves and their family. They had to wait for one of the items and the drive-thru employee asked them to park in a designated parking spot. After parking, a car pulled up next to them and a man they described as “being from the Middle East” got out of his car.

A moment later, a car pulled up next to theirs and a second man who appeared to be from the middle east got out and the two began conversing. My friend's immediate thought was “What are they planning?” As we spoke, they expressed feelings of guilt and shame at the initial thought. Then we talked about how after this initial thought, and feelings of shame and guilt, they asked themselves, “Why would I assume this about these men?” We began to talk about 9/11 and the effects it had. I was 13 years old when 9/11 happened. My friend was an adult. We spoke about the constant news loop that repeated the tragedy over and over for weeks. We spoke about the “war on terror” that followed. We spoke about the television and movie scripts that portrayed people’s from the middle-east as terrorists. We spoke about fear-mongering and the distrust and suspicion it cultivated.

Before the conversation ended, I brought up how they may have had that initial thought, but they paused to question why it happened and its validity before taking action. Too often we see the horrifying results of these biases turning into acts of prejudice, discrimination, and racism. We can’t necessarily stop the bias thought, but we can question it and its validity so that if or when action is taken, it’s coming from a place of open curiosity and not harmful assumptions.

The Implicit Bias Workshop

Below, is a video where Sarah Jenner will walk you through the Implicit Bias workshop. The button below contains a downloadable copy of the workshop’s Participant Handout. We encourage you to download it and complete the handout as Sarah walks you through how to facilitate the workshop to your team.

Reflection Question

Answer the following question(s) in the corresponding section of your Workbook.

Mindful Employer Canada would like to ask - did you have an “aha” moment while listening to this workshop? What was it?

Psychologically Safe Leader Method was made possible with support from our founding sponsors: 
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