similar to themselves, and who have
faced the same barriers.
30, 41 Know the
history of minority contributors to the
field, and make sure these achievements are known.
Adopt an expandable view of intelligence: demonstrate you believe that
skills can be learned.
Know your own biases. Read some
of the literature about unconscious
bias and about the IAT, and then take
the Implicit Attitude test5 at https://
Embrace differences: recall the women in the management study,
9 and as a
manager, pay attention to differences
in needs by individuals.
Foster intergroup conversations as
Remember the subject of a bias is
not always aware of the effects on him
For organizations, it is important for
individuals in key positions to sponsor
promising women and minorities.
An organization that says “we value
diversity” is more trusted than one that
says “we are color blind.”
Values affirmation has been shown
to have long enduring positive effects
on classroom performance.
Before important decisions, make
sure you are well fed: in one study, subjects were tested for their bias against
homosexuals. Half of the subjects
drank lemonade with sugar before the
test; the other half drank lemonade
with a sugar substitute. The subjects
who had sugar showed less bias than
those who had a sugar substitute.
I have conducted this research personally because of my interest in the
subject, and any omissions are inadvertent. I would like to thank the
many people who have sent me relevant literature, but most especially
Caroline Simard, who has studied
this area extensively (Note that the
body of relevant research is larger
than what is cited here.) My particular thanks to Robin Jeffries and Brian
Welle for their critical reading of and
comments on this article, to Bryant
York for the reference to the computer scientists of the Black Diaspora,
and to Alan Eustace for his instrumental role in making diversity a
priority at Google.
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Beryl Nelson ( email@example.com) is a software
engineering manager at Google, Mountain View, CA.
Copyright held by author.