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Biased
Cover of Biased
Biased
Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do
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"A fascinating new book... [Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt is] a genius."—Trevor Noah, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"Poignant....important and illuminating."—The New York Times Book...
"A fascinating new book... [Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt is] a genius."—Trevor Noah, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"Poignant....important and illuminating."—The New York Times Book...
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  • "A fascinating new book... [Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt is] a genius."—Trevor Noah, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
    "Poignant....important and illuminating."—The New York Times Book Review
    "Groundbreaking."—Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy
    From one of the world's leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our time

    How do we talk about bias? How do we address racial disparities and inequities? What role do our institutions play in creating, maintaining, and magnifying those inequities? What role do we play? With a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt offers us the language and courage we need to face one of the biggest and most troubling issues of our time. She exposes racial bias at all levels of society—in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and criminal justice system. Yet she also offers us tools to address it. Eberhardt shows us how we can be vulnerable to bias but not doomed to live under its grip. Racial bias is a problem that we all have a role to play in solving.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Introduction

    I walked in through a sea of navy-blue uniforms. The auditorium was filled to capacity, with 132 sworn members of the Oakland Police Department sitting motionless with perfect posture: erect, arms crossed. As I walked down the aisle to take the stage, I could not see their faces, but I already knew what they were thinking.

    The road to this particular presentation was a long one. The police force was still recovering from a major scandal that had left a legacy of distrust in the community. I was just wrapping up a two-year report that was about to be released to the public—one of the final steps required by the federal oversight team brought in to investigate ex- tensive civil rights violations by members of this department—and I didn't want the police to be blindsided by our findings. Many in the community were calling for an end to racial profiling. They wanted fair treatment. They were demanding justice. Many in the police de- partment felt they were delivering that justice every day—sometimes at great sacrifice. I wanted to help the officers to understand the in- sidious ways in which implicit bias could act on human decision mak- ing, despite the officers' noble intentions and deliberate efforts.

    Reporters were pressuring me to discuss our findings before the report was released, but I couldn't; there was too much at stake. I first wanted the department to be prepared and to be willing to work with our team as they crafted solutions to any problems the report would reveal.
    I was tired—exhausted, really—from working on the report around the clock for months, to the neglect of my teaching, my hus- band, and our three sons. As I marched up the aisle, I could feel a chill in the room.

    I made it to the stage. Although not exactly as modern or as high-tech as the classrooms at Stanford where I normally taught, the auditorium—with its wood-paneled walls and rows of cushioned red metal chairs—seemed familiar enough. I looked out at the faces in the crowd, searching for a connection. I found every face expression- less, their eyes distant. Each officer wore a crisp, clean uniform over a bulletproof vest. At the waist was a duty belt holding the essential tools of their trade: handcuffs, Taser, OC pepper spray, and Glock 17 9 mm firearm. The officers looked ready for duty, but no one seemed ready to engage with me.

    For the first time in my career, I was facing a hostile crowd. There was no booing or yelling. There were no verbal complaints of any kind—just a steely silence that was more eloquent than any words. I tried to make a few jokes. Nothing landed. I led them through an interactive "shoot–don't shoot" simulation, which was always a crowd- pleaser. The exercise fell flat. I showed a few movie clips that in other places triggered bursts of laughter. Still nothing.

    Finally, I caught the eye of LeRonne Armstrong, a captain whom I'd worked with before on trainings designed to improve police- community relations. I knew he understood the importance of delivering this message to law enforcement. I was relieved to see his face, until I realized that his expression was one of concern for me. He was looking around the crowd with the same worry I was trying not to let show onstage. I saw him shifting uncomfortably in his seat. How, I wondered, can I possibly deliver this training ten more times to units across the department when I'm not really sure whether I can make it through this first session?

    Eventually, I stopped with the lessons, and the data graphs, and the images, and the jokes, and the movie clips. I decided to veer off my usual script...

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2018

    An expert in the issue of unconscious racial bias, Stanford psychology professor and MacArthur Fellow Eberhardt argues that even those who don't believe they are biased and who strive to treat others equally can still harbor bred-in-the-bone stereotypes. To make her case, she draws on both research--in the lab as well as police departments, courtrooms, prisons, and boardrooms and on the street--and personal experience, showing that bias isn't restricted to a few screechy outliers but can affect us all. And it can be fixed by all of us together.

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2019
    An internationally renowned expert on implicit racial bias breaks down the science behind our prejudices and their influence in nearly all areas of society and culture.MacArthur Fellow Eberhardt (Psychology/Stanford Univ.; co-editor: Confronting Racism, 1998) challenges the idea that addressing bias is merely a personal choice. Rather, "it is a social agenda, a moral stance." Relying on her neuroscientific research, consulting work, and personal anecdotes, the author astutely examines how stereotypes influence our perceptions, thoughts, and actions. Stereotypes, such as "the association of black people and crime," are shaped by media, history, culture, and our families. A leader in the law enforcement training movement, Eberhardt recounts high-profile cases of police shooting unarmed black people, and she documents her own fears as a mother of three black sons. Though "more than 99 percent of police contacts happen with no police use of force at all," black people are stopped by police disproportionately and are more likely to suffer physical violence. Only a tiny fraction of officers involved in questionable shootings are prosecuted, and convictions are rare. Through her work, the author teaches officers to understand how their biases inform their interactions with the communities they are charged with protecting and serving. She shares informative case studies from her work with Airbnb and Nextdoor, an online information-sharing platform for neighbors, when bias among the sites' users led to racial profiling and discrimination. Eberhardt also looks at bias in the criminal justice system, education, housing and immigration, and the workplace. A chapter on her visit to the University of Virginia after the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville is, much like the book as a whole, simultaneously scholarly illuminating, and heartbreaking. Throughout, Eberhardt makes it clear that diversity is not enough. Only through the hard work of recognizing our biases and controlling them can we "free ourselves from the tight grip of history."Compelling and provocative, this is a game-changing book about how unconscious racial bias impacts our society and what each of us can do about it.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 1, 2019
    In this eye-opening explanation of implicit racial bias, Eberhardt, a MacArthur Fellow and social psychologist at Stanford University, melds laboratory research and personal experience, recounting how she came to understand how the way humans process information impacts the lives of those around them. She lays out psychological research proving that racial bias is wired into human brains; her group’s “was the first neuroimaging study to demonstrate that there is a neural component to the same-race advantage” in facial recognition—the increased ability to distinguish among and recognize people’s faces when they are the same race as the person seeing them (which she also recounts experiencing herself after moving from a majority-black to a majority-white neighborhood as a teen). She also looks at systemic manifestations of bias, such as residential segregation and discrimination in education. In a look at the human impact of bias, Eberhardt explains the bias behind each step in the decision of an Oklahoma police officer in 2016 to shoot Terence Crutcher, a black man whose car had stalled, and interviews his sister about the tragedy of losing a family member under such circumstances. Though there’s a section titled “The Way Out,” Eberhardt doesn’t offer many concrete suggestions for solutions, making the book feel like it overpromises on that element. But Eberhardt’s combination of smartly chosen stories and impressively accessible research makes this essential reading for psychology aficionados and people invested in social justice.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from February 15, 2019
    Stanford psychology professor and Mac�Arthur fellow Eberhardt tackles the difficult subject of racial bias and how it affects our everyday interactions in this enlightening and essential exploration. Drawing from her own experiences and those of her family as well as her work consulting with the Oakland police department, Eberhardt elucidates the ways long-held associations between Black men and criminality have led to prejudices both subtle and overt when it comes to eyewitness descriptions, pursuing suspects, and the split-second assessment of an action as threatening or not. She points out glaring discrepancies in the ways white candidates are favored over people of color with the same qualifications for everything from job applications to Airbnb rentals. And she limns her own experiences, from her young sons' eye-opening comments that reveal their internalized reactions to societal biases to her harrowing arrest the day before she received her PhD after being pulled over by an overzealous cop. Though there's no easy answer, Eberhardt posits the key to change is confronting bias head-on rather than trying to pretend it doesn't exist, and to question and challenge our own snap judgments and their sources. This is a seminal work on a topic that necessitates wide and frank discussion.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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Biased
Biased
Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do
Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD
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Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do
Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD
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