Biased Uncovering the hidden prejudice that shapes what we see, think, and do

Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Book - 2019

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New York : Viking [2019]
Physical Description
340 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 305-325) and index.
Main Author
Jennifer L. Eberhardt (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Stanford psychology professor and Mac­Arthur fellow Eberhardt tackles the difficult subject of racial bias and how it affects our everyday interactions in this enlightening and essential exploration. Drawing from her own experiences and those of her family as well as her work consulting with the Oakland police department, Eberhardt elucidates the ways long-held associations between Black men and criminality have led to prejudices both subtle and overt when it comes to eyewitness descriptions, pursuing suspects, and the split-second assessment of an action as threatening or not. She points out glaring discrepancies in the ways white candidates are favored over people of color with the same qualifications for everything from job applications to Airbnb rentals. And she limns her own experiences, from her young sons' eye-opening comments that reveal their internalized reactions to societal biases to her harrowing arrest the day before she received her PhD after being pulled over by an overzealous cop. Though there's no easy answer, Eberhardt posits the key to change is confronting bias head-on rather than trying to pretend it doesn't exist, and to question and challenge our own snap judgments and their sources. This is a seminal work on a topic that necessitates wide and frank discussion. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

An expert in the issue of unconscious racial bias, Stanford psychology professor and MacArthur Fellow Eberhardt argues that even those who don't believe they are biased and who strive to treat others equally can still harbor bred-in-the-bone stereotypes. To make her case, she draws on both research—in the lab as well as police departments, courtrooms, prisons, and boardrooms and on the street—and personal experience, showing that bias isn't restricted to a few screechy outliers but can affect us all. And it can be fixed by all of us together. Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Eberhardt (psychology, Stanford Univ.) helps readers understand how human brains have evolved to fear "the other" and how to combat innate bias once we recognize it. The author uses current research and personal experiences to explain that humans do have trouble distinguishing faces of races other than their own. This categorizing feature of our brains evolved to help us more quickly make sense of the overload of sensory information in our world, however it can lead to bias. Recounting her own traffic stop and consequent arrest on the day before her graduation with her PhD from Harvard, Eberhardt illustrates how prejudice can spin out of control. While this work primarily examines racial bias, Eberhardt touches on gender bias as well and notes how it's transmitted even to very young children. Eberhardt fights bias in the criminal justice system by working with the Oakland police department and teaching at San Quentin prison. She advises that readers combat implicit bias in their lives by slowing down, resisting subjective standards, holding themselves accountable, and raising the standards of their own behavior. VERDICT An important book for all readers in these divisive times. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/18.]—Caren Nichter, Univ. of Tennessee at Martin Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In this eye-opening explanation of implicit racial bias, Eberhardt, a MacArthur Fellow and social psychologist at Stanford University, melds laboratory research and personal experience, recounting how she came to understand how the way humans process information impacts the lives of those around them. She lays out psychological research proving that racial bias is wired into human brains; her group's "was the first neuroimaging study to demonstrate that there is a neural component to the same-race advantage" in facial recognition—the increased ability to distinguish among and recognize people's faces when they are the same race as the person seeing them (which she also recounts experiencing herself after moving from a majority-black to a majority-white neighborhood as a teen). She also looks at systemic manifestations of bias, such as residential segregation and discrimination in education. In a look at the human impact of bias, Eberhardt explains the bias behind each step in the decision of an Oklahoma police officer in 2016 to shoot Terence Crutcher, a black man whose car had stalled, and interviews his sister about the tragedy of losing a family member under such circumstances. Though there's a section titled "The Way Out," Eberhardt doesn't offer many concrete suggestions for solutions, making the book feel like it overpromises on that element. But Eberhardt's combination of smartly chosen stories and impressively accessible research makes this essential reading for psychology aficionados and people invested in social justice. (Mar.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A leading expert on unconscious racial bias examines the manifestations of automatic racism in contemporary society and how they influence race relations and criminal justice.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A Stanford professor, MacArthur grant recipient and leading expert on unconscious racial bias examines the manifestations of automatic racism in today's world and how they influence contemporary race relations and criminal justice.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Poignant....important and illuminating."—The New York Times Book Review"Groundbreaking."—Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just MercyFrom one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias come stories, science, and strategies to address one of the central controversies of our timeHow do we talk about bias? How do we address racial disparities and inequities? What role do our institutions play in creating, maintaining, and magnifying those inequities? What role do we play? With a perspective that is at once scientific, investigative, and informed by personal experience, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt offers us the language and courage we need to face one of the biggest and most troubling issues of our time. She exposes racial bias at all levels of society—in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and criminal justice system. Yet she also offers us tools to address it. Eberhardt shows us how we can be vulnerable to bias but not doomed to live under its grip. Racial bias is a problem that we all have a role to play in solving.