I have done a few online volunteering projects lately, from proofreading books, to transcribing letters and military records – it’s been fascinating and a big opportunity to learn. As a white woman, it’s high time for me to actively use my privilege to support People of Colour in whatever way I can, I’m sorry it’s taken so long. I am actively reading and learning using a lot of the resources I’ve included in this post, but I’m also trying to lend my time (my biggest resource) to aid any research projects I can. So today I took part in a Harvard research project, examing any implicit biases I might have.
Project Implicit aims to collate data on people’s hidden biases through questions and a quick preference test. The purpose isn’t to outwardly change people’s biases, but to make you more aware of them as they reveal the results of your test at the end.
During this second stage, you have to quickly press one of two buttons when a corresponding picture and word come up. For example, you press ‘E’ for a negative word or a Black person, and ‘I’ for a positive word or white person. You are doing this as quickly as possible, and they switch the letters, so it is suddenly ‘E’ for the bad word/white people and ‘I’ for good word/Black people. The test than calculates how quickly it takes you to press the button, the longer it takes the more bias you could have towards associating the two categories together.
They also asked some questions regarding the coronavirus, which I’m not sure has to do with any biases, but I answered anyway. You can always decline to answer any question, but I figured it might help with some sort of research.
I did a few different ones of these and found them really interesting. I wasn’t surprised that I held a slight preference for thin people over fat people, although not a conscious thought, the way society values the thin person as ideal has clearly had some effect. I think this a great tool for identifying any hidden biases we may have and provides more data for the researchers too.