Frequently Asked Questions
What is bias?
Bias is a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned such as unreasonably hostile feelings or opinions about a social group.
What is implicit bias?
The Ohio State Kirwan Institute for for the Study of Race and Ethnicity defines implicit bias as “the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness. Rather, implicit biases are not accessible through introspection.”
A Few Key Characteristics of Implicit Biases
- Implicit biases are pervasive. Everyone possesses them, even people with avowed commitments to impartiality such as judges.
- Implicit and explicit biases are related but distinct mental constructs. They are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce each other.
- The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
- We generally tend to hold implicit biases that favor our own in-group, though research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against our in-group.
- Implicit biases are malleable. Our brains are incredibly complex, and the implicit associations that we have formed can be gradually unlearned.
What is a bias-related incident?
Any action committed against a person or group that is motivated, in whole or in part, by bias against the person’s or group’s perceived or actual social identity, such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion, etc. Bias incidents can stem from conscious or unconscious bias behaviors.
What are microaggressions?
The term “racial microaggressions” was first coined by Pierce, Carew, Pierce-Gonzalez, & Willis in 1978. Derald Wing Sue (2007) expounded on this earlier work and defined microaggressions as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to the target person or group,” (“Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life, American Psychologist, May-June 2007, 272).
Persons responsible for microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such communications when they interact with members of such groups. The power of microaggressions lies in the invisibility to the person(s) responsible for them, and often times, the recipient, because of the existence of plausible alternative explanations for such comments, behavior, and/or environmental cues.
What are some examples of these microaggressions?
- A work-study supervisor tells a joke demeaning about someone’s country of origin.
- The use of one’s physical or mental disability to insult the individual.
- A professor tells a student to expect to struggle due to stereotypes about the student’s gender and/or race.
- Making insulting comments about someone’s traditional dress or geographic origin
The link below provides multiple examples of racial microaggressions students have experienced, however, microaggressions can target any aspect of one’s identity.
What is a hate crime?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a hate crime is a “crime of violence, property damage, or threat that is motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.” Hate crimes involve both a criminal act and an act of bias. However, not all bias incidents are considered hate crimes.
What are some examples of hate crimes?
Hypothetical examples of a hate crimes could include:
- Painting racial slurs on the side of a campus building
- Assaulting another person because of his/her/their perceived sexual orientation
- Throwing a rock through someone’s window while yelling derogatory comments about his/her/their religious affiliation
What is the difference between discrimination and bias-related incidents?
Unlawful discrimination refers to specific conduct prohibited by law that unfairly treats people differently because of their characteristic or perceived characteristics that the law deems to be unrelated to merit. An example of unlawful discrimination would be to deny membership into a group because a person is Muslim, to refuse to hire qualified applicants who are women, or to decline to rent to single-sex couples.
Bias is a preconceived negative opinion or attitude about a group of people who possess common physical characteristics or cultural experiences. Although bias-related incidents cause harm, they do not always result in treatment that violates nondiscrimination laws or College policies.
Can individuals who engage in hateful speech be disciplined by the College?
Manhattanville College values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. The expression and analysis of a wide range of views is a vital part of campus discourse. While this value of openness protects controversial ideas, it does not protect harassment or expressions of bias or hate aimed at individuals or groups that violate College policies.
How can I report a bias-related incident?
Manhattanville College strongly encourages the reporting of all such incidents occurring on campus or at college sponsored events and activities. Reports of bias behavior help the College identify those community members in need of institutional support, as well as those who could benefit from training and education in empathy and sensitivity.
Any member of the Manhattanville Community (including faculty, staff, student, or administration) who experiences or witnesses a bias-related incidents may file a report by:
- Using the On Line Incident Reporting System or
Other BERT FAQs
Click HERE for additional FAQs related to BERT and Bias Reporting