You have biases. Your exposure to the world, or lack thereof, informs your perspective of it. We’re all guilty of stereotyping, and who’s to say that’s a bad thing? No one can afford to navigate the world with the naivete of a toddler. Presumptions can keep us safe and help us to avoid all kinds of tomfoolery. But, when does our common sense discernment become perverse?  At what point do our preconceptions turn into harmful prejudice? These are the kinds of questions that one Cincinnati museum is posing to visitors.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has unveiled a learning lab called, Open Your Mind: Understanding Implicit Bias. The lab incorporates educational and entertaining hands-on exercises that encourage participants to recognize and examine their own implicit biases. “Research has shown that all people harbor implicit bias even if they seem to hold no explicit prejudice,” says Jamie Glavic, Director of Marketing and Communications at the center

The project was launched in partnership with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. The lab, which is free with general admission, will run through April 1st.  “With more than 100,000 visitors annually, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center serves to inspire modern abolition through connecting the lessons of the Underground Railroad with today’s freedom fighters,” Glavic said.

Other exhibits at the museum include a virtual experience that commemorates Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks' historic demonstration, "Faith and Fashion: The Crowns of African American Women" touches upon self-expressions of women through church culture, and "From Slavery to Freedom" portrays three centuries of slavery from its introduction into the Americas until the end of American Civil War.

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