The CEO Action “Check Your Blind Spots” unconscious bias bus tour rolled onto Carolina’s campus on February 20, bringing its unique interactive technology to educate users and expand the conversation about creating a more inclusive community.
Despite the cold, rainy weather, nearly 300 students, staff and faculty visited the tour bus parked in the lot behind Memorial Hall. As they traveled through the bus, participants were able to check their biases, or “blind spots” that shape their likes and dislikes, as well as their judgments about people’s character, abilities and potential. A variety of interactive experiences, including a mirroring exercise, a virtual reality experience, a computerized analysis of your “circle” of friends, and more awaited visitors of the bus. These simulations, using educational videos and implicit association tests, challenged people to analyze their blind spots and discuss measures to tackle them.
“Sometimes there are a lot of biases that you don’t realize you have,” said first-year graduate student Anusha Suresh. “This tour gives you an opportunity to face yourself.”
For many individuals, including Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for the School of Nursing’s Practice Primary Care Tom Bush, the tour was reaffirming. “As a nurse, you learn a lot of principles that can be applied in the education program, like how to discuss difficult topics with diverse groups of people,” he said. “[Through this experience], I’ve learned to ask questions even if it’s uncomfortable. I will continue to espouse these principles of acceptance, tolerance and curiosity.”
Participants also had the chance to take the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge – the same one that over 500 CEOs and Presidents from 80 Industries and 50 academic institutions and associations have taken. The pledge affirmed participants’ commitment to check their biases and take meaningful action to understand and mitigate them. More than 200 members of the UNC community signed on, including Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement, Felicia A. Washington – and they were able to view their image and signed pledge on a colorful display monitor before collecting cool-t-shirts, portable chargers and phone wallets as their the tour’s thank you gifts.
Created by CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion and funded by PwC through a $10 million gift, the Check Your Blind Spots unconscious bias tour is the largest CEO-driven business commitment in the U.S. to improve diversity and inclusion within the workplace. As the tour continues to visit institutions and corporations across the country, the hope of its organizers is to transform lives as it expands the dialogue around diversity and inclusion.
Written by Adrianne Gibilisco and Kierra Pittman, 2020