In my last post, I introduced four steps we can take to reduce stereotypes, which are the generalizations we have about members of a particular group. The first step you can take is to identify your stereotypes. You must be honest with yourself. EVERYONE STEREOTYPES. It is a natural outgrowth of human communication and the way we process information. One way to do this is to make a short, written list of your stereotypes. Remember, you are more likely to stereotype a group if you have limited interaction with members of that group. Another step you can take is to ask someone you trust for feedback. This person may have observed biased actions or statements on your part that may come as a surprise to you. Perhaps the most powerful step you can take is to complete one of the unconscious bias tests available to the public such as the Implicit Association Test created by researchers at the University of Washington, Harvard University and the University of Virginia. The test anonymously measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. You can visit the Project Implicit website for more information.
Next Post: June 2, 2014 – How to Reduce Stereotyping: Tip #2
Stereotyping has a powerful impact on our day-to-day lives. Without even realizing it, stereotypes (which are the generalizations we have about the members of a particular group – see my post, The Barriers to Effective Multicultural Communication #1: Stereotyping, for more information) can negatively impact our interactions with others. They can also cause us to act in unintentionally biased ways. Fortunately, there are four specific steps each of us can take to reduce the extent to which we stereotype:
Next Post: May 19, 2014 – How to Reduce Stereotyping: Tip #1
Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes is an author, speaker, coach and consultant. He helps his clients develop the skills needed to communicate, resolve conflict, solve problems and improve performance in diverse organizational settings.