Uncovering Unconscious Bias
Leaving your blind spots in the dark negatively influences your work and your viewers, but there are ways to infuse more authenticity and humanity into your characters.
You're biased & so am I.
It is not easy to face our own biases, especially while clinging to the belief that we don’t have them. However, you have them and so do I. It’s okay and it’s not our fault, but it is our responsibility to relinquish ourselves from the systems and structures that have deeply embedded biases into our subconscious.
Most of us know when our conscious-biased thoughts and feelings about people are “wrong” or “politically incorrect”, so we don’t say them or act on them. But what about feelings that influence our behavior and our work that are unconscious?
It often takes someone outside of us and our daily circle of friends and associates to illuminate our blind spots. Studies show most unconscious biases are beliefs and ideas that go against our personal values and morals. This makes them even more difficult to spot. However, once light is shed on those blind spots, we can move forward deliberately and with consideration.
This does not always mean removing something from your work. Purposefully including ideas and viewpoints in a strategic and meaningful manner rather than having unconsciously written in stereotypes based on subconscious biases will elevate your work.
The media is a quick and effective educator.
Television and film can reach massive amounts of people in the blink of an eye. It has the ability to educate and inspire on a mass scale, but it can also reinforce unconscious biases. I’ve included some questions from my “How to Attack Diverse Material” assessment for you to consider when developing characters.
1. Did your character see people who looked like them on scripted TV growing up?
· What type of representations were portrayed? Positive? Negative?
· What kind of characters were they? One dimensional? Authentic representations?
3. Have you taken the opportunity to include your character's worldview in a meaningful way?
4. Where in your script have you taken into consideration your character's humanity?
5. In what ways have you empowered your character?
Representations we see on television influence how we see ourselves in the world and how we view each other. There’s a lot of power in that. In what ways have we let our biases influence our story and effect our viewers without even knowing it?
For a more in-depth assessment email email@example.com