Focus 203 Talks Implicit Bias

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Focus 203

Parents, students, 203 staff, and community members met in the learning commons of Naperville North high school, to learn more about implicit bias.

The meeting was led by Dr. Rakeda Leaks, the executive director of diversity and inclusion at District 203, who presented on the subject. Leaks discussed how racism and implicit bias are different. She touched on factors that influence implicit bias, like the media we consume, personal experiences, and educational background.

Leaks said “What I was really hoping that people would get out of tonight’s conversation, is to know that we all carry biases, they are a natural human function. But we need to be cognizant of the fact that in some cases some of the messaging that we received over our lifetime, about certain groups or categories of people, could be limited or narrow perceptions of those groups, and that it also might be one-sided or overly negative.”

Taking Time to Talk

During the presentation, community members were asked to engage in thought exercises, and take part in group discussions.

Afterward, the entire audience came together and shared what they’d discussed. They also gave examples of times they experienced implicit bias, or unintentionally took part in it.

Leaks also said “Some of the individuals who attended tonight were very reflective and honest in saying ‘when I heard school principal I saw this one particular image’ and that image they saw was either connected to their life experiences or the media. So it’s just a reminder how there’s so many things that influence the way we think and see categories of people.”

To learn more about implicit bias, Dr. Leaks recommends participating in the Implicit Association test online, which is part of a Harvard research study.

Naperville News 17’s Ryan Skryd reports.


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