We all have biases. Mostly unconscious, without a doubt, but we all have them.
But what about those conscious often incorrect thoughts & perceptions about people that are different from us?
The Office of Diversity and Outreach at the University of California, San Francisco, defines conscious bias as “the conscious awareness of social stereotypes about certain groups of people”.
I have experienced my fair share of conscious biases and blatant disrespect as an African American, female, software engineer and the CEO of my own tech firm. Throughout my career, I have had to combat the social stereotypes regarding my technical intellect as a woman in technology.
Silicon Valley has been plagued this year with scandal after scandal involving the inappropriate treatment of women which has subsequently led to the loss of prominent roles for countless CEOs and venture capitalists. From coast to coast, women have begun coming forward to tell inform the community that conscious biases, blatant disrespect, and most of all sexual harassment, is not okay and will no longer be silently tolerated.
According to The National Center for Women & Information Technology, only 3% of African American women in 2015 held computing jobs in America. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that throughout my career, I’ve felt the need to prove my technical and business intelligence to others. But I’ve recently learned that I cannot combat these conscious biases alone. I was inspired to form Female Founders Dallas, an org designed for women entrepreneurs by women entrepreneurs. Our primary mission is to ban together for support and provide community outreach events to help our each of our businesses grow.
My hope is that my work in the community encourages women and persons of color to have the strength to speak up against biases of all forms.
Having a conscious biases doesn’t make you a bad person. But it’s important for people to acknowledge the biases so that they can be effectively managed.