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raceAhead: Podcast Presents New Ideas For Tackling Implicit Bias

Fortune data reporter Grace Donnelly is helping write raceAhead while Ellen McGirt is away on vacation.

When I told my editor the recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts that I listened to during my commute this morning, she decided I should be the one to tell raceAhead readers about it. So this is Grace, here in your inbox, to share it with you.

NPR’s Invisibilia is a podcast covering the forces shaping our lives that we can’t necessarily see or touch. The third season of the show is devoted to big abstract concepts like emotions, reality, and, this week, unconscious bias.

The social science behind our stereotypes and biases isn’t new information, especially to people passionate about inclusion in the workplace. But Invisibilia hosts Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel approach the topic from unusual angles with stories that ask questions listeners can use in daily life.

I’ve summed up my favorite examples from the episode, The Culture Inside, below. But it’s very much worth the full 55-minute listen.

How would you feel if this happened to someone in your family?

The white father of a black daughter finds himself profiling black men on the street. He’s candid and emotional about his realization of what he’s assuming in a way you rarely hear shared in a public setting.

Can we unlearn our prejudices using the same methods we use to battle addiction?

A black pastor travels to London and realizes that the type of racism he experiences in the U.S. is something other cultures haven’t learned. He thinks if people in other countries can grow up without learning these biases, maybe Americans can unlearn them. Inspired by the structure of “Alcoholics Anonymous”, he creates “Racists Anonymous” at his California church for people who want to address their racial bias in a safe space.

Are we being honest with ourselves about our own prejudices?

The research shows that in general, people view themselves as better, more moral individuals than they are. When a black St. Louis police officer heard an unconscious bias instructor say that even well-intentioned people have implicit bias, he decided to take the mandatory training more seriously. It made him realize that during his career he had been stereotyping others in much the same way he himself had been discriminated against by law enforcement as a young African American man. Now he teaches classes, mostly to white students, about how officers can check and combat their prejudices.

Maybe you’ve contemplated these questions before, but this episode does what Invisibilia does best: it presents a complex concept in both a personal and scientific manner. It’s a great explainer for friends or coworkers who may not be familiar with the topic, but it’s also a good framework to think about combatting bias in our daily lives.

What kind of progress could we make if we all thought about our prejudices not as moral failings to hide and feel ashamed about, but as incorrect concepts and associations we can work to unlearn?

We’d love to hear how you’ve approached unconscious bias, in or out of the workplace, so send us your experiences if you’d like to share. Stacy has the news below.

If you are reading the web version of raceAhead, Fortune’s newsletter on culture and diversity in corporate America, click here to have it delivered to your inbox daily.

On Point

Seven Practical Ways to Reduce Bias in Your Hiring ProcessThis dovetails nicely with today’s essay, eh? A double dose of addressing unconscious bias. Writer Rebecca M. Knight makes this a fast read by breaking expert and author Iris Bohnet‘s advice into real actions you can take the next time there’s a vacancy at your company. Heads up: There’s a 4-free-article limit on the HBR website, so you may run into a paywall.Harvard Business Review

After More Than Three Years Of Undrinkable Water In Flint, Five Public Officials Are Facing Manslaughter Charges
More than 100 people in Flint, Michigan have contracted Legionnaires’ disease, which researchers have shown is likely the result of the improperly treated corrosive water the city switched to in April 2014. The new charges, announced yesterday by Michigan’s attorney general, follow charges for less serious crimes against more than a dozen other city officials.

How Inner Cities Got Fast Food With Government Help
When McDonald’s wanted to open a restaurant in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, residents balked. The locals prevailed, turning the fast-food giant away in what became known in the press as the “Battle of Lexington,” so-named for the corner where McDonald’s was trying to build a store. But the company has been able to use policies put in place by the federal government, namely low interest rate loans for minority entrepreneurs, to turn people from minority-majority communities into franchise owners. Here’s the quote that convinced me to add Chin Jou’s new book to my summer reading list: “African-American consumption of fast food today is not a function of any longstanding preferences for fast food,” she told NPR. Rather, it’s the result of “targeted relentless marketing”, the SBA loan program and high unemployment rates among African-Americans.

Slideshow: An 18-Photo Preview Of Baltimore Photographer Devin Allen’s A Beautiful Ghetto
It was during the days when Baltimore citizens took to the streets to mourn Freddie Gray’s death and protest police brutality that photographer Devin Allen snapped a now-iconic photo that our colleagues at Time Magazine ran on their May 11, 2015 cover. Since then, he’s received a photography fellowship and been working on a book, A Beautiful Ghetto. The West Baltimore photographer published 18 photos from the book ahead of its July 18th release.
The Cut

Update On A Felon-Turned-Entrepreneur
When this podcast first aired in 2015, it detailed how Frederick Hutson went from enterprising kid to business-plan-writing prisoner to startup CEO joining conference calls from the shared phone at a halfway house. He’s now raised $6 million for his company, Pigeonly. Listen until the end — it’s just over 18 minutes long — to hear Hutson describe a computer attack that almost put them out of business. People who have served time in prison struggle a great deal when looking for a job. It’s worth mentioning that our colleagues at The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to covering the U.S. criminal justice system, have done a great deal of work on original reporting and curating links about ex-offender work opportunities.

Photo: Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai’s Father Wearing A #HeForShe Pin And A Heartwarming Look Of Pride
Seeing this picture on my timeline put a big grin to my face. I hope it does the same for you. If you’ll be in the Indianapolis area this September, put Malala’s free DePauw University talk on your calendar.

It Starts Early: Children’s Literature Majorly Lacking In Diversity
There’s a bit of foul language in this Twitter thread. But then, cartoonist C. Spike Trotman does call herself a “vulgarian.” Here the stats are appropriately packaged in illustrations, but aren’t any less alarming, as Trotman discusses underrepresented groups in kid lit with Ronell Whitaker, a high school English teacher and co-founder of Pop Culture Classroom.

The Victory Fund Declares 2017 Year Of The Trans Candidate; Meet Four Transgender Candidates Running For Office
The candidates profiled in this story hail from Virginia, Minnesota and New York City. And their platforms include values that promote inclusion for everyone. “Commit to learning,” said Phillipe Cunningham, who’s running for a city council seat in Minneapolis’ fourth ward. “Never believe you have it all figured out because constant learning is absolutely required in order to be your best self.”
Teen Vogue


“There she is with white kids and black kids and Latino kids, all of them hopeful that once they grow up and move into the real world, when they walk down the street what others will see is them — them for who they are: people, complicated and full of contradictions, like the rest of us.”
Alix Spiegel, NPR