‘The Bias Inside Us’ exhibit now at Pablo Center at the Confluence

From The Smithsonian comes an exhibit educating and attempting to unravel implicit bias

Thomas DeLapp

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Swing and a Miss
May 10, 2023

Photo by Thomas DeLapp

The exhibit varies from signs, to interactive activities, to testimonials and stories on video.

The Pablo Center presents a new exhibit, ‘The Bias Inside Us’, which addresses the ‘power of bias’ and how to understand and fight it.  

‘The Bias Inside Us’’ is a traveling exhibit from The Smithsonian museum showcasing and educating about implicit — and explicit — bias in humans and how to understand, unravel and fight it.  

“The project is grounded in research and teaches us that bias is inside everyone,” the exhibit website says. “It is part of being human.”

In a statement published on The Smithsonian website, secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III wrote: “Our project helps people to recognize their capacity for bias, to understand it as a scientific process, to learn ways to ‘check your bias,’ and to counter its negative influences.”

Installed in the Pablo Center at the Confluence, ‘The Bias Inside Us’ has one main room, with extra pieces in hallways and an art gallery.  

The exhibit contains informative displays, interactive activities and recordings of speeches and anti-bias videos.

Guests are able to move back and forth between displays without a specific viewing order.  Many visitors returned to sections again after moving on to others.

Joe Wajda, a visitor, said he knew coming in the exhibit was going to be thoughtful, informative and well-put together, coming from The Smithsonian. 

“It was definitely nice,” Wajda said. “We’ve got a 15-year-old son who came through with us and it was good for him to see a lot of this stuff, because a lot of these are things you don’t consciously think of.”

Wajda said a display of a self-questionnaire to become aware of internal bias stuck with him the most, in particular, a question about making judgements about neighborhoods based on race or socioeconomics.

“I grew up on the south side of Chicago,” he said. “For me, race was never a determining factor in what I thought of a neighborhood, but socioeconomics?  Absolutely. That’s my bias in that area.  

Another visitor, Dustan Green, said he was there with the UW-Eau Claire Baseball team.

“We came as a team,” Green said. “Our coach really believes in EDI and building a really good culture for our team.  We do this, like, weekly. We have study tables and we’ll do EDI meetings after.”  

The most notable thing for him, Green said, was a section about inequality in money between genders, both the unequal pay gap and the pink tax — female-marketed products costing more than those marketed for men. 

In addition to the main gallery, the Pablo Center’s exhibition of ‘The Bias Inside Us’ includes a few keynote presentations.  

The first was a performance by two UW-Eau Claire string quartets on Feb. 25. 

Speaker Andreal Davis will present ‘Black Cat: A personal journey towards eliminating my own biases through “9 Lives” on March 9 at 6:00 p.m. 

Calvin Lai will present “Project Implicit: Understand and prevent the impact of hidden bias in everyday life” on March 15 at 6:00 p.m.

Guests can continue to visit ‘The Bias Inside Us’ exhibit at the Pablo Center until March 27.  Wajda recommends visiting. 

“It asks you, ‘have you ever experienced this, or done that?’ and you realize, yeah,” Wajda  said.  “There are biases I have. It makes you think and realize, these are things I think every day.”

Reservations for ‘The Bias Inside Us’ can be made on the Pablo Center website.  

DeLapp can be reached at [email protected]