This inclusion expert says unconscious bias training is doing more harm than good — here’s why

Colonialism in social change, and why good diversity plans need to be based on results

Why It Matters

Unconscious bias training is one of the mainstays of diversity and inclusion consulting. But while the practice has long been used to address the idea of unconscious prejudice, some practitioners say it provides cover for discrimination to continue, and hurts the people it aims to protect.

Sharon Nyangweso’s answer to unconscious bias training is simple. Don’t do it.

It might seem odd for the CEO of QuakeLab, an inclusion and communications agency, to advocate against a trusted method of anti-discrimination work in corporations and nonprofits alike. Put simply, the practice involves teaching employees that subconscious discrimination permeates our interactions with others. Therefore, an active awareness of these tendencies can blunt their impact. Unconscious bias training is used by everyone from diversity consultants to the Government of Canada’s school of public service. But criticisms of the practice have grown in recent years. 

In an August post on QuakeLab’s website Nyangweso argues against this conclusion. She c

Our social impact coverage and insights enrich thousands of change makers like you everyday. Sign up for a free account with Future of Good to continue reading this series.