Unconscious bias refers to deeply embedded cultural values, experiences and beliefs that influence the way we react to people and situations – in essence, the snap judgements we make about how to behave in any given situation, despite intentions of not being racist.
Unconscious bias can be difficult to identify, and even more so to be subjective about in order to perceive the implications of one’s own actions – but the consequences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are very real. They can range from being passed over for employment or promotion opportunities because of a judgement made on skin colour rather than capability, to being profiled in a shopping centre and targeted by security, to – as we have seen so tragically, so many times – deaths in custody. Unconscious bias can have devastating impacts in systematically limiting access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to employment, career advancement, health, education, and even freedom of movement from day to day.
Unconscious bias can also affect women, people with disability, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and any other minority group which is not a part of a dominant power structure.
So how can you help?
Businesses, corporate entities and government departments can play a significant role in addressing unconscious bias by creating change in their organisations through Unconscious Bias Training.
Unconscious Bias training assists participants to understand what bias is, and identify their own personal beliefs and professional behaviour. They then build a broader understanding of impacts in the workplace, as well as an appreciation of the benefits of and best practise in diversity.
Unconscious Bias training in the workplace is a key part of creating cultural safety within your business for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, clients, customers and associates – but there are flow on effects to the wider community, too.
Every person who undertakes Unconscious Bias training and genuinely uses the opportunity to take an objective look at their own culture, beliefs and behaviour for personal growth, will have an impact in the wider community by making room for other perspectives. Every individual who makes changes makes a difference – and that’s an important step on the path to an inclusive Australia.
If your business, corporate entity or government department is ready to take the lead in creating change, please give IPS a call on (08) 9721 7057 to talk to us about our Unconscious Bias training package.