The scholars behind a popular yet debunked “implicit bias” measurement tool to quantify racism are still trying to defend its legitimacy.
“Implicit bias” training sessions have drastically increased in popularity over the past two decades. Based on the notion that all human beings have subconscious biases against people based upon their race and gender, “educators” now travel the country charging exorbitant fees for workshops in which they work to erase attendees’ implicit bias.
According to a report by The College Fix, the researchers behind the theory are now defending their creation after years of criticism. What exactly is this criticism? Well, it fails to achieve its singular purpose of diagnosing whether or not someone is “racist.” A column in New York magazine highlighted an important issue with the “implicit bias” test, which is known as the Implicit Association Test (IAT).
What all these numbers mean is that there doesn’t appear to be any published evidence that the race IAT has test-retest reliability that is close to acceptable for real-world evaluation. If you take the test today, and then take it again tomorrow — or even in just a few hours — there’s a solid chance you’ll get a very different result. That’s extremely problematic given that in the wild, whether on Project Implicit or in diversity-training sessions, test-takers are administered the test once, given their results, and then told what those results say about them and their propensity to commit biased acts. (It should be said that there are still certain consistent patterns: Most white people, for example, score positively on black-white IAT, supposedly signaling the presence of anti-black implicit bias.)
University of Florida Professor Colin Smith, who also serves one of the directors of Project Implicit, an organization dedicated to spreading “implicit bias” theory throughout society, attacked claims that the theory is illegitimate. “[T]here’s this perception that people get one score, go back again, and get some wildly different score. My guess is that is often what we’d call ‘anecdotal evidence.’ It makes for a great line in a talk or an article,” Smith said.
“Then, even if it WERE true, it might be evidence of the measure working accurately. In other words, our leading theories are increasingly geared toward a state rather than trait version of what the IAT measures,” Smith continued, “it would be GOOD if the numbers on that detector went up as you ran up some stairs and went down after you’d been sitting for a few minutes.”
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more campus updates.