Unconscious bias is everywhere. From the neighborhood that we choose, the close friends that we have, to the people we date. Developments in neuroscience now demonstrate that many biases are formed throughout life and held at the subconscious level, mainly through societal and parental conditioning. We gather millions of bits of information and our brain processes that information in a certain way – unconsciously categorizing and formatting it into familiar patterns. Though most of us have difficulty accepting or acknowledging it, we all do it. Gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, body size, profession etc., all influence the assessments that we make of people and form the basis of our relationship with others, and the world at large.
Even when we say that we are very open-minded and not prejudiced, it is clear these biases still creep up on us. This is why we need to examine our biases and be mindful of our hidden prejudices and the way they manifest themselves in words and actions.