October 18, 2017
Travel study will help tackle bias
A public health researcher says it’s time to change the script on Maori under-achievement.
Anton Blank has won a Churchill Fellowship, which he will take up next year, to travel to Taiwan and the United Kingdom to talk with experts on unconscious bias.
He says looking at the lack of substantive change for most Maori in areas like health, education and poorer life outcomes, he realised the discussion needed to go further than racism and colonialism.
He says much of the time gatekeepers or people in authority may not be aware they are treating Maori differently.
"I’m really used to working with non-Maori, with Pakeha around Maori issues and most of the time I think those people are well-intentioned but they are not aware of their own behaviour. What we hope to do with unconscious bias, with the books we publish and the training we do, is to help people understand their own personal racism and bias and mitigate that in their decision making with Maori families," Mr Blank says.
While playing in sports teams and getting to know people from other backgrounds can help, what seems most effective is teaching people to be mindful of their own biases.
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