According to some social scientists, people have evolved to be suspicious of those who are different, and they say most of us are unaware of these biases. As part of the Park City Film Real Community Program in partnership with the Community Foundation Women’s Giving Fund, will show a free screening of the documentary Bias. Carolyn Murray has this:
Park City Film Director, Katy Wang said they are bringing the Film, Bias to town because it ties in with the social equity initiatives in Park City. She hopes the film will inspire the people watching it to pay attention to their own built in intolerance and prejudicial tendencies.
“We’re really excited to have Robin back here in our community. We really feel like this film taps into the local conversations we’re having about social equity and how we as a community can really start engaging in those conversations. The film will be followed by a panel discussion, which of course Robin will be on. We’ll also have Dr. Marco Barker who is Westminster’s VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Sadie Ortiz who is a high school student and part of Latinos in Action and Teen Council. And, then Megan Zarnetsky who is social justice teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High and she’ll be the moderator. So, really engaging. We don’t want to show you the film and leave you with your own thoughts. We really want to get you to dig into it and unpack all the great ideas that are in this film."
Director, Robin Hauser said if you have a brain, you have bias. She’s learned a lot from her prior film that studied the gender gap.
“My last film called De Bugging The Gender Gap, really went all around the world and a lot of the discussion that stemmed from that film is what really is at the root of some of these isms that plague our society. Racism, Sexism, Ageism. And I began to hear a lot of this term, unconscious bias or implicit bias. And, it fascinated me because it’s something that we all have. It’s a heuristic process, a heuristic tendency. And yet, how is that useful in the modern world? Right? How does it either thwart us or help us move forward, both in the workplace and socially?”
Hauser said people don’t have the ability to see bias in themselves.
“We might know we are biased towards dogs because we were bit by one when we were two years old. But, we don’t know other biases that we hold inside us and how that interacts with some for the choices that we make on a daily basis.”
Hauser said when humans lived in tribes, it might have served our ancestors to have inherent bias to protect themselves. She said it isn’t serving society or individuals well any longer.
“Now that we live in a more cosmopolitan sort of society, how is that useful if we are suspicious of everybody who isn’t exactly like us. And, we all suffer from something called like-me bias. Now in some cases, that might be helpful but, in most cases… think about hiring, like-me bias can really steer you to hire the wrong person. Because, if you hire the sort of people who are just like you, you’re building this cocoon of yes. You’re probably not having a diverse perspective, contributions from different perspective that could really help you build a better company and create better product.”
The experts in the film use a test that reveals biases and Hauser said she found it disturbing.
“It’s based on the implicit association test which was designed by Tony Greenwald and Mazaran Banaji. And, the implicit association test measures our associations between two things. For example, between women and career verses men in career or women in family. I actually take the test and reveal some of my biases, which are shameful in the film. And that’s really a basis to measure that we all have biases.”
Hauser is a self-proclaimed feminist and she explains how surprised she was when she took the Implicit Association Test on the topic of Gender/Career.
“I showed a moderate association for women and family and men and career. That really shocked me and I took the test three, four, five times and I get the same results. And what these tests are showing us is really the thumb print that society has on our brains. That’s really a quote from Mazran Banaji. But it’s true. We really can’t control the associations that we have. But, once we are aware of them, it enables us to say, I know I might have these associations. What can I do? I can slow down when I make a snap judgement, I can slow down and say, did I make that decision for the right reasons?”
The film, Bias will screen at the Jim Santy on December 6th at 7 pm. It’s free and there will be a panel discussion immediately following the show.