Frequently Asked Questions - and DeEtta's Answers - About Bias

Artwork by Olivia Kang for Outsmarting Human Minds. Learn the science of implicit bias at

I am frequently asked questions about bias. Broad questions such as, “what is it?” and “how does it work?” to more specific asks such as, “how does it impact relationships with different people, groups, and in the workplace?” These are exactly the kind of topics and substantive discussions that regularly take place in the DJA course, “Reducing the Negative Impact of Bias.” I want to share some of these questions and answers more broadly. Hopefully, this will generate conversations that will help you along your own journey of personal growth.

All humans have bias. Whether it's positive or negative, conscious or unconscious, bias shows up every day in our thoughts, behaviors, and processes.

Bias is also a key topic related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) because of the implications it has on so many aspects...

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The Influence of Inherited Racism

by Dana Mariani-Lada

People can be in situations, not actively chosen by the individual, where they learn racist behaviors and attitudes. It is my belief that, regardless of where or how we learn about racism, we each have responsibility for identification, acknowledgement and dismantling it. Inherited racism is the term that I use (actually, I think I’m coining it with this post). My definition is informed by my own lenses, my experiences. It is the idea that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race that is consciously or subconsciously transferred from an authority figure to an individual at early stages of life through adulthood. The individual, who receives prejudiced and/or discriminatory communication from an authority figure may, and often, believes these attitudes are appropriate. It is important for individual growth and development to identify what attitudes have permeated your upbringing and make an effort to identify, evaluate, and...

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God Willing and The Creek Don’t Rise

Photo Credit: Shelah Marie


Late last Friday afternoon, I joined a Zoom call. Several DJA team members were there as was a client in Detroit. In all, three Black women, similar in age, were present. The obligatory, “How are you doing?” started the conversation. Our client pausedwe’ve developed wonderful rapportaverted her eyes, and said “You know, God willing and the creek don’t rise.” All three Black women in the meeting burst into familiar laughter. We were in a space in which we fully belonged, able to experience and share a mutual sense of exhaustion in a way that reinforced sisterhood and support. I haven’t stopped smiling since. 

The saying “God willing and the creek don’t rise” has been around for a long time, but it was likely popularized in Johnny Nash’s song “If the Lord’s Willing.” Most folks I know attribute it to our Big Mamas. Wikipedia describes it as an...

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