We recorded video of the panel presentation and will be uploading it as soon as we can.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES: UNCOVERING UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
WGAW and SAG in partnership with Americans for American Values, the Kirwan Institute, and the Equal Justice Society presented on Sept. 30 at WGAW a thought-provoking discussion on unconscious bias offering insights challenging and inspiring new ideas for developing and producing programming that reflects the true diversity of our rapidly changing society.
Panelists and special guests included:
- Jeff Adachi – San Francisco Public Defender, Producer of The Slanted Screen
- Dr. Camille Charles – Professor, University of Pennsylvania
- Larissa FastHorse – American Indian Writers Committee, WGAW
- Antonia Hernández – President and Chief Executive Officer, The California Community Foundation
- John S. Johnson – Director, Harmony Institute
- Dr. Maninder Kahlon – Chief Information Officer, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of California, San Francisco
- Jerry Kang – Professor of Law, UCLA
- Celinda Lake – Pollster
- Norman Lear – Writer, Activist, Philanthropost
- Tim Paulson – Educational Psychologist, Davis Joint Unified School District
- Eva Paterson – President, Equal Justice Society
- john powell – Professor of Law, The Ohio State University
- Allen Rucker – Chair, WGAW Writers with Disabilties Committee
- Kathleen Antonia Tarr – Harvard Law School JD, Performer, Writer and Producer of “Getting Played”
The panelists explored how the brain processes information and how the need for quick decision often leads to faulty conclusions. Political ads from the 2008 presidential campaign were used as examples of how media can “prime” viewers to activate stereotypes and similarly, deactivate the impact of negative unconscious stereotypes. A number of ads showed candidate Obama as a menacing Black man – purposefully done to make voters afraid of him.
In his autobiography Nelson Mandela tells of getting on a plane in Africa after his release from 28 years of imprisonment. The pilot of the plane was a Black African. This frightened Mandela. When he examined his fears, he realized that he had internalized negative stereotypes of Black incompetence. Many of us have internalized negative stereotypes of women, lesbians and gay men, the disabled, older people, and people of color. These fears operate in our unconscious.
Our workshop provided background on the unconscious bias theory, drawing from the numerous years of collective work on the issue by our experts and identified ways that unconscious bias could be better understood and used by writers.