Last week, I posted Implicit Bias Training Doesn’t Seem To Work – So What Should Teachers & Others Do, Instead?
It examined the ineffectiveness of implicit bias trainings, and explored some possible alternatives.
This TED-Talk just came out “How racial bias works — and how to disrupt it | Jennifer L. Eberhardt” and offers another idea (you can find the transcript at that link).
She talks about creating “friction.” In other words, a tool that forces people to pause and think before they take an action.
She says she worked with the Next Door app to combat racial-profiling there by forcing users to answer three questions before they posted something:
“What was this person doing that made him suspicious?” The category “black man” is not grounds for suspicion. Second, they asked users to describe the person’s physical features, not simply their race and gender. Third, they realized that a lot of people didn’t seem to know what racial profiling was, nor that they were engaging in it. So Nextdoor provided them with a definition and told them that it was strictly prohibited.
She says this reduced racial-profiling on the app by 75%
Eberhardt also talks about her work with the Oakland police:
I and a number of my colleagues were able to help the department to reduce the number of stops they made of people who were not committing any serious crimes. And we did this by pushing officers to ask themselves a question before each and every stop they made: “Is this stop intelligence-led, yes or no?” In other words, do I have prior information to tie this particular person to a specific crime? By adding that question to the form officers complete during a stop, they slow down, they pause, they think, “Why am I considering pulling this person over?”
As a result, she says, “African-American stops alone fell by 43 percent.”
I wonder how this kind of “friction” could be developed for teachers in the classroom. Obviously, a question could be added to office referral forms created by teachers, but that doesn’t happen until the issue has already reached a point of escalation.