“Pass It On” Faculty and Staff Book Circle Forming

Blind Spot book cover

The Pass It On Book Circle invites faculty and staff to participate in its fourth session of reading and discussing “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People” by Mahzari R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald. This book circle, which will have five sessions in all, is supported by a Campus Climate Improvement Grant awarded to the Office of Research and Engagement.

In the book, Banaji and Greenwald explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.

Using their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that gives us a glimpse of our unconscious biases at work, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent at which our perceptions of social groups shape our judgements about people’s character, abilities, and potential. Explaining the science clearly and plainly, Banaji and Greenwald guide us through the workings of the brain, how it uses common stereotypes and how to “outsmart the machine” that relies on them. Powerful, challenging, and revealing, “Blindspot” is an invitation to understand our own minds and, in process, be fairer to those around us. The book also has a special connection to UMass Amherst: when Professor Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences was a PhD student at Yale, she collaborated with co-author Banaji. 

Readers will have 8 weeks to read the book and then come together as a group for a one-time discussion. Sign up by clicking here by June 27. Refreshments and snacks will be supplied at the discussion. If you have any questions please contact Chris Burnett at caburnett@research.umass.edu or 545-5270.