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Implicit Bias and Structural Racialization

This paper was written by Kathleen Osta and Hugh Vasquez for The Equity Project.

Implicit bias is something often talked about in the legal community as it relates to justice in the courtroom. This paper goes more in-depth on what implicit bias is, where it stems from and how it relates to inequity in our institutions, including the law. It lays out six considerations for understanding the relationship between implicit bias and institutional racism:

  1. Situate learning about implicit bias in a historical and socioeconomic political context.
  2. Highlight and interrogate the ways that current policies and practices create and reproduce inequitable outcomes that serve to reinforce our implicit biases and the ways in which our implicit biases lead us to reify (and justify) existing inequities.
  3. Understand that structural racism, othering, and exclusion have become normalized and result in policies and practices that ensure access to opportunity for some and exclude others.
  4. Don’t confuse the fact that “we all have implicit biases” with immunity from responsibility as the benefactors of the current inequitable structural arrangements.
  5. We are all connected – our fates our linked. Working for social justice is not about “helping those kids” or “those communities”, but about dismantling structures that exclude, increasing access to opportunity and building healthy, inclusive communities in which we all belong and can thrive.
  6. Any effort to interrupt implicit bias and its impacts must be accompanied by efforts to dismantle structures that exclude and build structures that provide access to opportunity or create new opportunities.

Read the full paper by clicking on the link below.

About the National Equity Project
The National Equity Project ( ) is a U.S. based leadership and organizational development non-profit committed to increasing the capacity of people to achieve thriving, self-determining, educated, and just communities. Our mission is to transform the experiences, outcomes, and life options for children and families who have been historically underserved by our institutions and systems.

Implicit Bias and Structural Racialization