Oct. 18, 2017 – Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Carl Ashley took the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. “It indicated I had bias,” he said. So he took the test a second time. “I’m still biased.” But that’s because we are all biased, Judge Ashley explains.
“We are a function of everything we learn, and some of that affects how we react to things, unknowingly, that can be a huge impediment to reacting to and being fair to someone,” said Judge Ashley, panelist on the topic of “cultural competency” at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference this past summer.
But even if we all have implicit bias, that doesn’t mean we can’t work to improve the justice system. “By acknowledging it, you are better equipped to deal with your implicit bias that we all have, to be fairer and more just to the people in front of you.”
“It’s an opportunity for us to realize that we have these issues,” Judge Ashley said. What can we do about it? The first step is to acknowledge implicit bias. The second step is to account for it. If we know it’s there, we can make adjustments, Judge Ashley said.