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Implicit Bias, Microaggressions, and Stereotypes Resources

Resources to sharpen our racial analysis and to deepen our understanding of implicit bias, microaggressions, and stereotypes.


NEA has a vision for every student. We know that institutional and structural racism are barriers to achieving our vision. We will leverage the power and collective voice of our members to end the systemic patterns of racial inequity and injustice that affect our Association, schools, students and education communities.

Implicit bias is a mental process that stimulates negative attitudes about people who are not members of one’s own “in group.” Implicit racial bias leads to discrimination against people who are not members of one’s own racial group. Implicit bias operates in what researchers call our “implicit mind,” the part of the brain that we commonly call the “subconscious” or the “unconscious.” This means that implicit bias can operate in an individual’s mind without a conscious awareness of this process.

Implicit Bias - the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. 

Implicit Bias:

  • Encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments.
  • Are activated involuntarily without an individual’s awareness.
  • Not accessible through introspection.
  • Lead to feelings and attitudes about other people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, and appearance.
  • Develop over a lifetime beginning at a very early age through exposure to direct and indirect messages.

Microaggressions are verbal, behavioral, or environmental slights that are the results of an individual's implicit bias. They are often automatic or unintentional and occur on a daily basis. Microaggressions communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative viewpoints. The use of microaggressions perpetuate a worldview of White Supremacy Culture. 

A stereotype is a widely held but oversimplified belief about a particular type of person or group. It happens when someone groups individuals together based on some factor and makes a judgment about them without knowing them.

Partner Organizations

  • Color of Change - Color of Change designs campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward.
  • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights - Ella Baker Center for Human Rights builds the power of black, brown, and poor people to break the cycles of incarceration and poverty and make our communities safe, healthy, and strong.
  • Equal Justice Initiative - EJI is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society
  • Kirwin Institute - Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity works to deepen understanding of the causes of and solutions to racial and ethnic disparities worldwide and to bring about a society that is fair and just for all people.
  • Race Forward - Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Race Forward is home to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of local government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Race Forward publishes the daily news site Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the country’s largest multiracial conference on racial justice.
  • Re-Center - Founded in 1992, Re·Center Race & Equity in Education uses its core strengths to eliminate the root causes of racism and oppression in K-12 education.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center - The SPLC monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public.
  • Western States Center - Western States Center works nationwide to strengthen inclusive democracy so all people can live, love, worship and work free from fear.

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