If you are human, you have biases

Ana Carolina González-Peña • February 14, 2024

We all hold unconscious beliefs about others; it’s normal to categorize or organize our understanding of other people. This is known as “unconscious bias” or “implicit bias.”

Identifying our own biases can be complicated since they are strongly influenced by our upbringing and exposure to different groups of people. Additionally, there is no clear way to express them, and they encompass aspects such as political ideology, religious beliefs, financial influence, and misinformation, among others.

Some common examples of biases are:
• Attacking someone of a particular religion by questioning their nationality.
• Reporting an LGBTQ+ person for using the women’s restroom.
• Prohibiting employees from speaking a different language in public places.
• Calling the police because a couple of people of color are in a public space for an extended period.
• Assigning tasks only to people with whom we feel comfortable, ignoring the knowledge of others due to their different backgrounds.

Do I have biases?
Despite our best intentions, biases and discrimination can emerge in our communities, often where we least expect them.

Our biases can manifest in our behavior, comments, emails, text messages, articles, and in the connections, we establish with those around us. Some red flags include:

• When defending our arguments, we selectively present facts to reach our only conclusion.
• Attempting to persuade friends or family to think in a certain way without evidence for what we say.
• Using humor or irony to refer to certain people or groups.
• Using coded language, i.e., seemingly innocent words with an alternative or offensive meaning, such as “drug addicts,” “illegals,” “foreigners,” etc.
• Suspecting that someone has committed a crime based on their ethnic origin, either consciously or unconsciously.
• Paying more attention to the tone, emotion, or presentation of a fact, rather than what happened. This often occurs when concerns about racism or discrimination are invalidated.

A Starting Point
Because we are seldom aware of our biases towards others, it is crucial to create awareness to mitigate collective harm. To do this, it is essential to initiate conversations about the impact of discrimination. Here are some recommended practices:

Stay calm: Although it may be challenging to talk about biases, it is essential to remain calm.
Awaken your curiosity and listen: Listen to all opinions, even those that make you uncomfortable. Practice empathy by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Don’t take anything personally: Avoid taking the opinions of others personally. Often, biases reflect more on the person expressing them than on the recipient.
Reflect on the conversation: Think about what you have learned by listening to others. Develop genuine empathy by putting yourself in their place.

Now that you’re willing to see the world through the eyes of others, what will you change in the future? Is there anything you can modify in your own behavior? Although we are very different individuals, our common ground is that we all belong to the human race; it’s just a matter of remembering it!

  • Evergreen Forum

    Evergreen Forum: Sunken Vogage

    Join Evergreen Forum this fall and discover the mysteries of historic shipwrecks with new course leader, Dr. Rich Hendrickson Dive into the fascinating world of...

    Krista Hendrickson • Jul 10, 2024

  • GrandPals

    GrandPal Renee Shields

    Renee Shields has been reading in Princeton schools as a GrandPal since 2015, except for the two years when the program was interrupted by COVID....

    Ella Leving • Jul 05, 2024

  • Open Doors

    Meet Kimberly Figueroa-Martínez

    “My name is Kimberly Figueroa Martínez, and I work with the Municipality of Princeton as the Community Outreach Coordinator. One of the events I’m particularly...

    Ana Carolina González-Peña • Jul 02, 2024

  • Rhythms and Roots

    Rhythms and Roots – “Aja”

    Rhythms and Roots: A Musical Journey with Nick Today’s Recommendation: Steely Dan’s “Aja” Steely Dan’s 1977 album “Aja” is a masterful fusion of rock, pop,...

    Ana Carolina González-Peña • Jul 01, 2024

  • Rhythms and Roots

    Rhythms and Roots – Nick Macy...

     Music, Culture, and Diversity with Nick Macy We firmly believe that music celebrates diversity, unites us as human beings, and is a common language that...

    Ana Carolina González-Peña • Jun 25, 2024

  • GrandPals

    GrandPal Maxine Finger

    Maxine Finger has been retired for many years and keeps herself very busy with many activities aimed at a healthy lifestyle. She is a grandmother...

    Ella Leving • Jun 24, 2024

  • GrandPals

    GrandPal Laurel Lerner

    Meet Laurel Lerner, a passionate music enthusiast and dog lover. As a former singer turned piano teacher with a degree in music education, Laurel’s love...

    Ella Leving • Jun 21, 2024

  • GrandPals

    GrandPal Marsha Freeman

    “My greatest moments in reading with my GrandPals is when we break through their initial shyness and begin to have more interesting conversations. Also, when...

    Ella Leving • Jun 17, 2024

  • GrandPals

    GrandPal Kathleen Wagner

    Meet Kathleen Wagner, a delightful soul with a warm smile and a sparkle in her eyes. Rain or shine, she shows up at every session...

    Ella Leving • Jun 13, 2024




Your generosity is truly the fuel that empowers CMAP to change lives and to help older adults discover their “why!”

We invite you to donate to the 2023–2024 Annual Giving Campaign by June 30 to help us reach our goal.