From one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias, a personal examination of one of the central controversies and culturally powerful issues of our time, and its influence on contemporary race relations and criminal justice.
You don’t have to be racist to be biased. Unconscious bias can be at work without our realizing it, and even when we genuinely wish to treat all people equally, ingrained stereotypes can infect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behavior. This has an impact on education, employment, housing, and criminal justice.
In Biased, with a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Jennifer Eberhardt offers us insights into the dilemma and a path forward.
Eberhardt works extensively as a consultant to law enforcement and as a psychologist at the forefront of this new field. Her research takes place in courtrooms and boardrooms, in prisons, on the street, and in classrooms and coffee shops.
She shows us the subtle–and sometimes dramatic–daily repercussions of implicit bias in how teachers grade students, or managers deal with customers. It has an enormous impact on the conduct of criminal justice, from the rapid decisions police officers have to make to sentencing practices in court.
Eberhardt’s work and her book are both influenced by her own life, and the personal stories she shares emphasize the need for change. She has helped companies that include Airbnb and Nextdoor address bias in their business practices and has led anti-bias initiatives for police departments across the country.
In Biased, she offers practical suggestions for reform and new practices that are useful for organizations as well as individuals.
Unblinking about the tragic consequences of prejudice, Eberhardt addresses how racial bias is not the fault of nor restricted to a few “bad apples” but is present at all levels of society in media, education, and business.
The good news is that we are not hopelessly doomed by our innate prejudices. Eberhardt’s book reminds us that racial bias is a human problem–one all people can play a role in solving.
Neitz, Michele Benedetto, Pulling Back the Curtain: Implicit Bias in the Law School Dean Search Process (February 23, 2019). 49 Seton Hall L. Rev. 629 (2019).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3241031 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3241031
The dean search process can be viewed as a bellwether for the health of a law school. Within the microcosm of a civilized “dean search committee” can lie the tensions of rival factions attempting to impose their visions for the next chapter of the law school enterprise. If law school revenue is down, the factions may be fighting for their own survival.
Not surprisingly, therefore, the dean search process is a lightning rod for the stresses facing law school faculty and staff and university administrators. As a result, the implicit biases of individuals and institutions can play a major (if unseen) role in the selection of a dean. Despite the regularity of dean searches in American law schools, no scholar to date has fully examined the ramifications of implicit bias in the dean search process.
This article stems from my experience chairing multiple dean searches and my research interest in the causes and effects of implicit bias. Part II reviews the role of a law school dean, with special consideration of the ways the Great Recession and its effects transformed the role of the dean. Part III describes the typical dean search process and evaluates dean diversity statistics to determine which candidates are selected for these powerful roles in today’s law schools. Part IV introduces the concept of implicit bias, specifically focusing on in-group favoritism. Part IV also analyzes the ways implicit biases can manifest in the dean search process, focusing on racial, gender, socioeconomic, and sexual orientation biases. Finally, Part V suggests recommendations to minimize implicit bias on the part of dean search committees, and offers new and creative ways to change the traditional dean search process.