Last week I visited a Health Care Practitioner. As I sat in the in the waiting room I watched the TV screen display with a slide rotation of all of the practitioners who work in the office and offer complimentary care.
While there is a range of offerings and small bios underneath so one can “meet” them, which is nice, here’s what I noticed.
There were 12 practitioners.
All of them are women.
They have similar body types and even hair.
And of 12, 11 are white.
This is how bias works.
How Bias Works
I’m not suggesting there is any overt any-ism happening here. Or that she should run out and diversify to attract clients. What I want to point out is how easy it is to gravitate towards and hire people that look like we do.
We have a tendency to assume we will have more in common with people who we think are like us – and because we use our eyes first, that starts with how people look.
Then, we have personal bias, which is about who we are, but also our experiences and what/who we have been exposed to, taught, etc.
So…if we take the first point into consideration, who are we going to have the most interactions with? People who look like us (initially), or with whom we have something in common.
If we add unconscious bias to the mix, it takes us to a whole other level.
The Impact of Bias
I’m not suggesting that there is discrimination or exclusion happening here. I’m brown. I feel well served and able to be all of who I am as a client in this office. But I want to point out how easily and unconsciously we are led by bias: That in a city like Toronto with a 46% visible minority population (not to mention every other diversity) that this roster can still look like it does.
The impact? It could be that many people don’t come.
Which likely isn’t the intention, but may be the impact.