The Science of Wringing Out Racial Bias


Date/Time Date(s) - Tue., Nov 5, 2013
2:00 pm-4:00 pm

Hosted by:

Location Harvard Law School

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The Proteus Fund, EPIP, and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute on Race and Justice at Harvard Law School are excited to share this workshop on implicit bias. The workshop will be presented by Johanna Wald of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute on Race and Justice at Harvard Law School (see bio below). 

In his recent remarks about racial inequality, President Obama suggested that we ask ourselves: “Am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?” In fact, there is a growing science about how we can do exactly that with respect to hidden (versus explicity) racial bias. Courtesy of an explosion of new research, we know much more than we did a decade ago about how HIDDEN biases become lodged in our psyches, and, more critically, how we might dislodge them.

In this workshop, we will review important research findings about unconscious racial bias, its effects on our decisions and actions, and examine how these biases become embedded in our organizations and institutions.  In particular, we will consider the ways in which unconscious racial biases effect outcomes in education, criminal and juvenile justice, and employment.  Finally, we will take a look at strategies for first acknowledging and then reducing levels of implicit bias, and discuss how we can adopt these to reduce racial inequality and bias in specific settings. As time allows, we will begin a conversation about the possible relevance of these findings and strategies for the work of philanthropy.

Join us at Harvard University, in Cambridge, MA, on November 5th, 2013, from 1pm to 4pm. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Johanna Wald is Director of Strategic Planning for the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School.  She is part of a senior management team that identifies and designs key initiatives, raises operating support, and manages staff and resources.  She regularly presents on the role of implicit racial bias in educational and criminal/juvenile justice settings, and recently launched a project aimed at reducing the levels of implicit bias among disciplinary decision-makers in school settings.  She is the co-author of a chapter on implicit bias in the criminal justice system that was published in Implicit Bias Across the Law (Cambridge Press) in the spring of 2012, and of a law review article and policy brief on police in schools (2010).  In addition, she has contributed chapters on school discipline and the school to prison pipeline in several anthologies.  Her op eds and articles have appeared in the Bay State Banner, The Boston Globe, Education Week, and the Center for American Progress.

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