”Unconscious bias”, or the implicit ways in which we perceive certain things as a result of our upbringing or surroundings, is an issue that many of us (perhaps all of us) are complicit in every day. Frequently, we make prejudgements, accept certain stereotypes, and even make certain discriminatory decisions.
While the issue may indeed be present, however, the ways in which governments and institutions respond to it borders on comedy. Rather than seeking to address any structural inequalities in our society, many instead opt to politically correct-ify words, phrases, and objects in short-sighted attempts to remove the social surroundings which contribute to our implicit biases.
Here are 5 weird ways in which people and institutions have sought to fight against unconscious bias (to a fair amount of comic effect).
1. Walk/Don’t Walk Signs
In many parts of the world, pedestrians are instructed when to cross the street by clear ”WALK/DON‘T WALK‘‘signs. In other parts of the world, however, a small green or white human figure appears on the sign to tell us when to go. To some, this figure seems a little too male in appearance. (It‘s unclear why, since no clothing or genitalia generally are visible.)
This allegedly contributes to an unconscious, pro-male bias amongst pedestrians. To fight this, the government of Melbourne, Australia, opted to trial little green women to go alongside the masculine silhouettes of before. One small step across the street, one giant leap for equality?
Probably not, and this strange attempt at signalling virtue set the taxpayer back by a tidy AU$8,400 ($6,224 US) for every 6 traffic lights. Pretty costly, for such a vague and confusing endeavour.
2. University of Adelaide ‘‘Mansplaining‘‘ Poster