Opinion: There’s Nothing Unconscious About ‘Unconscious Bias’

Written by Kara Swisher

The Washington Post asked 10 writers to nominate something we’re better off without. This is an excerpt from Kara Swisher’s contribution, “Unconscious Bias.” Swisher is a technology journalist and executive editor of Recode.

From The Washington Post.

You can’t throw a hammer in Silicon Valley these days and not hit a gender or race bias controversy. The problem is everywhere: Uber. Oracle. Google. And VC firms, so many VC firms.

The worst excuse is what is widely called “unconscious bias” — bias that kicks in automatically, with our supposedly unthinking brains making often-inaccurate snap judgments.

It’s pure laziness by some of the world’s smartest and most innovative people to pretend they are unconscious of something so glaringly clear. Training and classes … never seem to solve the problem, no matter how much money is spent. Studies suggest these programs may actually backfire.

Here’s a suggestion for tech execs: If you see 10 white men on a board of 10, or an engineering staff that’s 80 percent white and male, with no faces unlike your own, you’re not building a meritocracy. Instead, it’s a mirror-tocracy, and what’s reflecting back at you is neither pretty nor unconscious.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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About Kara Swisher
Kara Swisher is a technology journalist and executive editor of Recode.

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