Chicago Area School Hosts Lessons On Implicit Bias, Microagressions


By Amber Randall

A Chicago area high school planned a day of workshops focused on implicit bias, microaggressions and and racism in America for their students Tuesday.

North Trier High School, located in a majority-white, wealthy suburb, planned a day-long seminar called “Understanding Today’s Struggle For Racial Civil Rights.”

One workshop, located on the Winnetka campus, teaches students about cultural appropriation vs. cultural appreciation. Another session has students examining their own “biases.”

“Through interactive exercises lead by a conflict management specialist, participants will challenge their personal assumptions about many dimensions of diversity, assess the ramifications of these unchallenged assumptions, and consider how biases affect daily decisions,” the program schedule says.

The Northfield campus of the school also has its own workshops planned. One seminar, “Disney and Racial Stereotypes,” has students watch Disney films and “analyze characters based on racial stereotypes or who further racial generalizations.”

Another group study will examine “racial microaggressions,” while another will have students take the Harvard Implicit Association Test.

“We will then have a discussion about the impact of bias, our lack of awareness of it, and ways to actively work against racial bias we would like to eradicate,” according to the program guide.

Students have to attend the main speech and a homeroom presentation, according to Superintendent Linda Yonke. Any students who feel uncomfortable with other sessions do not have to participate.

The “Parents of New Trier,” a parent group, has been speaking out against the day-long seminar. They want a more conservative perspective to be included in the events. (RELATED:Chicago Parents Call For ‘Conservative Perspective’ In Civil Rights Lessons)

“What I’d like to see happen is simple: just some balance in what’s presented,” one parent said.

Yonke reaffirmed her support for the seminar in a statement.

“We are proud of the work that our committee of 30 administrators, faculty, and students has done to prepare for this day devoted to critical thinking and discussion around an important topic,” she said.

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