The End of Bias: A Beginning: The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias

Jessica Nordell. Metropolitan, $28.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-18618-8
Journalist Nordell debuts with a virtuoso survey of scientific research on the causes of prejudice and programs that have “successfully reduced everyday bias and discrimination.” She delves into psychological concepts such as the “prejudice paradox” (people sincerely deny holding racist beliefs, yet still act in “racially discriminatory ways”) and “priming” (planting a thought in someone’s mind that changes their perception of the world); details the case of transgender neurobiologist Ben Barres, who became an activist for gender equality in science after he transitioned from a woman to a man in 1997; documents an LAPD community outreach program that reduced arrest rates and cut violent crime by teaching officers about the culture of public housing developments in Watts and east L.A. and shifting their focus from “making arrests to building relationships”; and explains how a French law firm improved performance by removing the barriers to advancement women with children had faced. Throughout, Nordell holds her own biases up to scrutiny, lucidly describes the methodology and findings of the copious psychological and sociological studies she cites, and draws vivid character sketches of her profile subjects. The result is a refreshingly optimistic and immersive look at how society can solve one of its thorniest problems. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/26/2021
Release date: 05/11/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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