The Paradoxical Bias In The Harvard Project Implicit Bias Tests

The Paradoxical Bias In The Harvard Project Implicit Bias Tests

Within the past handful or so years there have been more of an increased discussion around fairiness and equality, within various arenas of life. DEI efforts within organizations spiked and people are trying to be more aware of their actions. As an addition to people being more self aware of their actions, implicit biases that people hold has also been examined. This is where the Harvard Project Implicit tests rose and continues to rise in popularity. It offers awareness of bias, while also remaining anonymous. It offers people the opportunity to associate pictures with groups of people with whatever automatically comes to mind. 

Great concept, but not great efforts for inclusion for all. The tests are not accessible to those with visual impairments. Despite there being approximately 12 million Americans with a visual impairment (Center for Disease Control), it remains inaccessible after almost 11 years since it’s launch in 2011.

This matter was brought to Harvard’s Project Implicit team by me in 2018, to which I was told they would work on it. Here we are 3 .5 years later and the matter is still not addressed. How can a test be promoted when in itself it is engaging in the same behavior it is supposed to be measuring? The answer I was given was due to lack of staff/support and how the team is comprised of volunteers. So, in that case, then why put out something that leaves out millions of Americans from engaging in the first place? It is my thought that this group of people, those with visual impairments, were not in the forefront of the development, and still aren’t. It is like Martin Luther King Jr said, “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” Let’s stop treating those with disabilities as second class citizens. We deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. It is only fair and just.       

About the author

Ennis Cornerstone Consulting administrator