The Non-Performativity of Implicit Bias Training

Jessi Lee Jackson

Abstract


Implicit bias training is an increasingly common educational intervention in institutions throughout the U.S. I explore the potential of implicit bias training to challenge violent police racism through participant observation in a training for police officers. I pay special attention to what is missing: the voices of those targeted by racist policing, and what is treated as equivalent: white male experience and the figure of the human. Implicit bias trainings risk promoting more adaptive racism in policing through the coaching of participants into the performance of colorblind racism. The training functions as what Sara Ahmed has identified as “the non-performativity of anti-racism”—ostensibly anti-racist (non)practices that maintain contemporary racist realities.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/rt.2018.497

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