Introduction

Welcome!

Thank you for choosing this resource to learn more about implicit bias and to think about ways you can utilize this knowledge to inform your work as a delegate. This course contains learning engagements organized into three overarching areas:

  1. Recognizing Implicit Bias
  2. Questioning Implicit Bias
  3. Transforming Implicit Bias

While all three areas will be covered, the time you spend completing the course will focus on Recognizing and Questioning Implicit Bias. The third area, Transforming Implicit Bias, will start at the end of the course with an invitation for you to continue that work up to and throughout your time serving as a delegate.

The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) is excited for church leaders, like you, who have committed to the work of having conversations that matter (Vital Conversations), honoring cultural differences (Intercultural Competency), and dismantling policies and practices that hinder justice (Institutional Equity). This online course is one step toward bridging the gap between what we proclaim and the realities of implicit bias that stand in the way.

 

Who is this for?

This resource began as a general guide to church leaders to learn and teach others about implicit bias. The online course you are about to begin, however, has been rewritten so that it directly focuses on how implicit bias informs the specific work of serving as a delegate. The learning engagements in each section provide different “entry points” for the big ideas around implicit bias, to reach people with different perspectives and learning styles. What We Don’t Think We Think honors the contextual wisdom that you and others will bring to this material. Each exercise is an invitation to the sacred journey of discovering how God is leading you to faithfully use this material so that as a delegate you have a greater awareness of how implicit bias influences your perspectives.

 

Why is this important?

Implicit bias, at its core, is a way to understand how what we have learned over time, gets combined by the brain and informs our values, beliefs, and actions. In other words, the brain serves as a collector (of SO many pieces of information!) and connector (creates connections between some of those pieces). These connections, when implicit, function underneath the radar but still influence our values, what we believe and why, and the actions we take based on our values and beliefs. So, that means:

  1. Implicit Bias informs our values, beliefs, and actions;
  2. The most important action you will take as a delegate is voting;
  3. Thus, Implicit Bias informs your voting.

When our biases remain implicit (under the radar), our votes are influenced by values and beliefs that haven’t even come to the surface. By recognizing and questioning our implicit biases – we can be sure that our votes align with what we actually proclaim to value and believe. Furthermore, we gain the ability to describe to someone else in our deliberations why we value or believe what we do and how our votes faithfully represent them.

The tricky thing is this: because implicit bias is under the radar, sometimes we proclaim one thing and do another. We say we want to reach the communities around our churches, but our ministry attempts fall short. We proclaim to be about action, but we end up in meeting after meeting about the same things. We say we’re going to work out in the morning, then we sleep in, Implicit bias is sometimes what stands in the way. By looking at “what we don’t think we think” we can get to one root of the problem between our intended goals and actual outcomes.