Sandra Bledsoe

Racism Training In The Workplace: Everything You Should Know

Racism training is a specific program that reveals individuals to their particular unconscious racial prejudices and biases, provides opportunities, tools, and support to modify habitual patterns of thinking, and eventually eliminates discriminatory racial actions. These racial biases are taught preconceptions that are automatic, seemingly correlated, unconscious, deeply rooted, ubiquitous, and capable of influencing behavior and attitudes.

Since we have contact with institutional and cultural racism, bigotry and biases have infiltrated reasonably deep into our subconscious. Implicit bias is a component of the inequality system that explains racial laws, attitudes, and attitudes that specifically remain in modern culture in a big way.

 

What is the Need for Racism Training?

Creating awareness for subconscious racial prejudice is a crucial element of racial bias training. Humans have a cognitive tendency to form assumptions based on their preconceived notions. We tend to group and pair related events in our mind rather than accepting them individually. 

Moreover, we relate everything to our childhood memories, learned episodes, and feed memories. As for memories, if a small part of the information is pestered in our minds from childhood, we tend to believe it as if it was real or actually happened. The most common example of this is myths.

The same is the situation with racism. We have learned or have somehow subconsciously believed that a particular class of people is superior or inferior, which is not true. To undo this learned behavior or memory, there is a need for racism training because,

  • Certain biases are intuitive; they may lead to people avoiding accountability rather than actively interrupting conduct. 
  • Implicit prejudice must be explored in the context of how prejudice, racism, privilege, and entitlement interact and work systematically. 
  • Current research on unconscious bias also suggests that specific actions can affect individual brain connections in debiasing. 
  • If such prejudices can be corrected at a personal level, they can, by extension, be altered at the more significant social level with enough willpower and commitment.

 

Training to Address Racial Bias

  • Counter Stereotype Racism Training

Counter Stereotype racism training is one of the most effective and productive methods of addressing racial bias. A controversial issue is how to eliminate stereotypic responses and discriminatory actions caused by unconscious biases at work. One theory is that cognitive retraining, such as regularly practicing counter stereotypes, might significantly diminish implicit bias, reducing stereotype application.

According to one U.S. research, employment applications with historically white-sounding names received 50% more responses than historically Black names. In 2015, the research team ‘Hu and colleagues developed a counter stereotype training technique to unlearn implicit prejudice, biases, and stereotypes while sleeping. Their study, however, differs from earlier studies because two distinct sounds were played following each successful match of gender or racial counter stereotype.

  • Participants completed the standard counter stereotype training task of matching photos of various races with counter-stereotypical qualities. 
  • They were asked to take a 90-minute nap following the training session. Their sleep patterns were observed using E.E.G. 
  • After follow-up evaluations, the results revealed that prejudice, bias, and stereotypes were successfully decreased based on the particular sound played during sleep.

This implies that participants who listened to the sound relating to racial counter stereotypes had less racial prejudice but not gender bias, and vice versa. Cognitive diversity can boost organizational innovation by upwards of 20%.

 

  • Negation Racism Training

Negation racism training reduces implicit bias by intentionally denying data and information that promotes racial preconceptions, preferences, stereotypes, and prejudice, altering the stereotypical tendency.

One of the first research studies to evaluate the benefits of negation training on reducing implicit bias was undertaken by Kawakami, Davido, Moll, Hermsen, and Russin in the year 2002. Subjects in their study were shown images of black and white people and a phrase that symbolized a stereotype. 

 

  • The participants were informed about pressing a button that said the word “No” throughout stereotype-consistent tests. 
  • For example, a black individual and the word “slow” and a button with the word “Yes” during stereotype-inconsistent trials. 
  • For another instance, a white individual and the word “slow” or a black individual paired with the word “fast.” 
  • The experiment resulted in considerable reductions in participants’ automatic racial bias, prejudice, and stereotypical assumptions.

A pre-existing stereotype, bias, or prejudice is triggered during negation training, and then you must then actively oppose the memory’s significance and validity. 

In 2018, researchers Johnson, Kopp, and Petty suggested that the denial was meaningless and that participants were not adequately driven to eliminate their inherent biases.

 

  • The researchers created a scenario during which individuals were instructed to think, “That’s wrong!” when responding to stereotype-confirming data and stimuli. 
  • Other subjects were asked to continue using the standard form of denial and negation and answer with “No” to stereotypical bias. 
  • The researchers hypothesized that while the word “No” is an unclear and ineffective reaction to prejudices, the phrase “That’s wrong!” is precise.
  •  Once participants were instructed to think “that’s wrong” in response to stereotype-confirming input, there was a significant reduction in racial prejudice, which was not detected in the scenario where they just thought of the word “no.” 

 

Furthermore, the researchers observed that motivation highly influences the efficiency of racial sensitivity training programs.

 

  • Perspective Racism Training

Perspective-taking fosters increased empathy for a particular stereotyped category of individuals. Adjusting perspective has been proven to successfully positively influence perceptions toward both individuals and their group as a whole. 

Perspective studies are usually conducted in three steps. 

  • Subjects are first introduced to the target racial minority group by watching a video that depicts incidences of racial prejudice, bias, or discrimination or by examining a photograph of a member of the target racial group. 
  • Participants are then instructed to contemplate that individual’s life and feelings.
  • The second group of control subjects watches the same video or examines the same image, but they are not given supplementary perspective-taking directives. 
  • Finally, individuals’ preconceptions are reviewed by completing questionnaires or completing specified necessary activities. 

This model of perspective has been proven to significantly reduce racial prejudice, stereotypes, preconceptions, and bias. According to 48% of employees, respect is the most critical aspect in creating an inclusive culture.

 

  • Meditation Racism Training

Meditation racism training has been incorporated into a wide range of modern analytical interventions due to its positive impacts on well-being, decreased depression and distress, and general mood enhancement. In 2008, Loving Kindness Meditation (L.K.M.), which aims to consciously trigger a psychological response of unrestricted compassion towards oneself and others, was introduced into implicit, subconscious bias, discrimination, and prejudice training.

In 2014, the researchers Kang, Gray, and David discovered that subjects that participated in a seven-week meditation process training demonstrated a substantial decrease in implicit prejudice toward African Americans and homeless people. In 2016, Stell and Farsides discovered that just seven minutes of Loving Kindness Meditation reduced subconscious racial discrimination and bias for a group of people.

Employer diversity is crucial to 67 percent of job searchers when assessing employment possibilities. More than 50 percent of current employees want their workplace to do more to boost diversity.

To avoid the episodes of racial bias, racism training is a must. This ensures that no employee or individual is biased for any caste and treats everyone equally. It will help establish a homogeneous workplace relationship and goodwill.


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