Blindspots-Hidden Bias! What role do they play in Computer Science?

Blindspots are untrue assumptions that someone has based on their hidden bias they have about someone’s identity. Blind spots are also hidden biases around gender, race, ethnicity, lifestyles, social status, etc. that we have formed through our life experiences.  We must first acknowledge that we have them! It can sometimes be easier for us to see blind spots in other people than it can be for us to see them in ourselves.

Watch the video below about blindspots and then read Basic Strategies from Learning for Justice to learn about strategies you can use to address biases. Think about what role does biases and blindspots play in the role of recruitment and student retainment in computer science.  What are some assumptions or blindspots you have identified and made part of your classroom agreements? Are your strategies to Interrupt, Question, Educate and Echo? Do you use these conversations with your students and peers?  What other strategies do you use to address bias in your computer science classrooms or professional learning communities?





Profile picture for user Rclang1
Submitted by Rebekah Lang on Mon, 03/15/2021 - 13:38

My students just told Data Stories for AP CSP this past week and I had a hard time convincing then that all reporting of facts has some kind of context and bias. I think I'll point then to this video as a follow up. Thanks!

In reply to by Rebekah Lang


Profile picture for user carol.fletcher@utexas.edu
Submitted by Carol Fletcher on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 10:14

Great idea Rebekah. I think if as humans can start with the notion that bias is something we all bring to our interactions, and is in fact hardwired to some degree, we can focus more on how to recognize it and check it rather than argue about how color blind we think we are.

There is a book called Blind Spot: The Hidden Biases of Good People. Love this quote from a review:  . While we may not have much power to eradicate our own prejudices, we can counteract them. The first step is to turn a hidden bias into a visible one. . . . What if we’re not the magnanimous people we think we are?

In reply to by Carol Fletcher


Profile picture for user Rclang1
Submitted by Rebekah Lang on Sat, 03/20/2021 - 10:57

Agreed! I'm reading another book called "How Not to Be Afraid" that also briefly addresses this idea of recognizing privilege (and related biases) in all its forms (race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, educational background, citizenship, etc)... Gareth Higgins quotes Adrienne Maree Brown's mantra, "Where we are born into privilege, we are charged with dismantling any myth of supremacy. Where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming our dignity, joy and liberation." If I can pass this charge on to my students, I'll feel like I've taught them well this year.