Module 3 addresses the complexity of vulnerability and its relationship to race, gender, socio-economic positioning, and personal histories. To effectively engage with the core ideas of this lesson, it is essential for service providers to be flexible in their perspective, non-judgmental, and open to understanding their personal bias. Reflection 3 is an invitation to examine personal bias and identify opportunities for further learning.
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Although some people are able to identify their personal bias, many bias are implicit and can go unnoticed. Bias can impact you ability to trust, listen to, and respect another person. Being able to identify your bias enables you to then challenge it and minimize how it impacts your work, and, more importantly how it impacts youth accessing support. Bias can appear in small ways. A common activity to help understand bias is the Edward H. Adelson’s checker shadow illusion.
Looking at the image above: are squares A and B the same colour or different colours?CorrectIncorrect
On a sheet of paper write down the first names of six to ten (6-10) people you trust. Place a checkmark beside each name whose identity in the following demographics match yours: gender, race/ethnicity, religion, sexuality, socio-economic position, nationality, first language, and accent.
Following this activity, respond below with your reflections: How diverse is your inner circle? What sort of bias were revealed to you through conducting this activity? If these bias are carried over into your work with youth, what are the implications? Who might be most impacted by these bias and what could this mean for the kind of support they receive?
If you were unable to identify any bias’, why might that be? Perhaps it feels scary or uncomfortable to identify bias? As well, please reflect on the implications of bias and on how bias can impact the sort of support a youth may receive.
For further exploration of personal bias, check out Harvard University’s Project Implicit: a series of Implicit Association Tests created to help people identify their bias.
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