Workshop will address overcoming unconscious racial biases
Recognizing and overcoming unconscious opinions about people different from oneself -- particularly on matters of race -- will be the topic of a Dec. 11 workshop of the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations.
The Rev. Clyde Brooks, who chairs the Arlington Heights-based commission, said the consequences of such implicit biases can go far beyond awkward or impolite interactions.
"Here's the problem: These biases can injure and hurt people," Brooks said. "Because you take action based on these unfounded biases."
With the United States becoming an ever more diverse nation, the chances of interacting with people different from oneself are growing, Brooks said. And the issue is even more pronounced for people like educators and police officers whose jobs require they interact with everyone, he added.
The workshop from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Chicago Marriott Northwest at 4800 Hoffman Blvd. in Hoffman Estates will be facilitated by professor Destiny Peery, who holds a law degree and a doctorate in social psychology from Northwestern University.
Peery has taught at Northwestern's and Duke's law schools. She writes, teaches and speaks on the psychology of bias, stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination and inclusion in law.
Implicit biases are not confined to race but extend to others' sexual orientation, age and physical and mental abilities, Brooks said.
"What happens to us in this life is we form opinions about other people," he said. "We get this from our parents and our friends. We become just like those we hang out with."
Without serious self-examination, people are unaware of their biases because they're so much a part of one's fabric, Brooks added.
An audience of about 75 people is expected at the workshop. Brooks said he knows only those already open to change will be there, but the impact they will have on others around them is where the real value lies.
"We want people from police departments and churches to go back and bring us into their institutions," Brooks said. "We hope the people who do attend spread the word."
The cost of registration and materials is $90 per person. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org by Nov. 25 with the name of each person to be registered and a phone number and email address of a contact for each group. A check payable to ICDHR should be sent to P.O. Box 734, Arlington Heights, IL 60004.
For more information, email email@example.com or call (708) 772-8752.