This is a TED talk that’s a must see! Yassmin Abdel-Magied is funny and honest as she uses her own story to explain how prevalent bias can be. She’s not talking about severe prejudice or racism. She’s talking about the unconscious biases that play a huge role in societies and hold them back from being truly diverse.

“You might think that diversity has nothing to do with you,” she says. “But we are all part of this system and can all be a part of that solution.”

We all have biases against what’s different from our own social norms. If you think you don’t, all I ask is that you watch this talk first. She gives some examples and tells some stories that made me realize I walk around with bias every day, even though I live with a “judgment-free” mentality.

Just to share a quick example from her talk, she talked about a study that was performed back in the 1970’s and 80’s when orchestras were made of mostly men because they played “differently,” or presumably better. Then they decided to start blind auditions to prevent any bias. There was no major difference until musicians were asked to take off their shoes before walking in the room. Turns out the clicking noise from the women’s heels was enough to give them away and leave room for gender bias. Apparently men didn’t play better after all.

This is just one example Yassmin shares to show us how much unconscious bias can play a role in how we judge one another’s abilities.

I won’t give anymore away because I really believe it’s worth a watch. But I will close things out as she did by sharing her final challenge:

“Diversity is magic,” she says. “I encourage you to look past your initial perceptions because I bet you they’re probably wrong.”


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