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Day 4: Implicit Bias and Stereotypes

Thank you for taking this challenge! If this is your first day of joining us for the 14-Day Equity Challenge, welcome. If you are returning after previous engagement with the challenge, nice work! We are glad you are here.

This challenge is designed to push you out of your comfort zone, think critically about difficult topics, and grow in your understanding of the ways people and systems perpetuate (and have the power to eliminate) racism. We’re excited to invite you to this opportunity to dive deeper into racial equity and social justice.

View other challenges: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14

Day 4: Implicit Bias and Stereotypes

Today’s challenge covers two important and coinciding topics: implicit bias and stereotypes. In this context, “stereotype” refers to a widely held, fixed, overly generalized, and often untrue belief about people who are part of a particular group. For example, you may have heard before that Asians are good at math, women are bad drivers, gay men are flamboyant, or black men are good at sports. These are all examples of stereotypes, and they all have consequences on the people who they are depicting.

Implicit bias is how we unconsciously and unintentionally assign stereotypes and hold prejudices toward people. The media we consume, the people around us, and the experiences we have all play into the kinds of biases we hold. For example, if we frequently see images of black men associated with crime in the news, we may develop an implicit bias labeling black men as criminal and dangerous. While we may not consciously believe this, implicit bias can still manifest itself in things like the neighborhoods we call “sketchy” or the way we might clutch our wallets more tightly when passing a person of color.

Addressing implicit bias can be a particularly difficult task, because it requires us to acknowledge something harmful within ourselves. Today’s challenge will ask you to reflect on your own biases and recognize the stereotypes that impact how we think and act toward people of color.

If you have…

Take one of these
Harvard implicit bias tests and reflect on some of your own unconscious biases

Read this article
about the common racial and ethnic stereotypes distributed by the film industry

Listen to this podcast
that examines prejudices so deeply buried, we often doubt their existence.


Once you have completed today’s challenge, we encourage you to take a moment to reflect.

  • How did the challenge make you feel?
  • What is something you learned?
  • Did you notice anything about yourself after taking the challenge?
  • Consider sharing this new awareness with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information.

Share your thoughts on the challenge online using #YWCAEquityChallenge