Thursday, a unique experiment took place at the University of New Mexico. It’s called “Check Your Blind Spot,” and it’s designed to reveal biases you may not even realize you have.
Inside the “Check Your Blind Spot” bus, are the experiences of others: unwanted experiences, experiences of racism, discrimination and inequality.
“It’s really important to know how unconscious bias can influence a person’s decisions in interactions that people have, so any education we can do in those areas will really help them in the future,” UNM Student Activities Director Ryan Lindquist said.
UNM decided to bring the experiment to Smith Plaza to open the eyes of students, faculty and staff.
Visitors are emersed in virtual reality scenarios. They get to listen in on conversations between co-workers, landlords and potential tenants, employers and job applicants, and many more.
“When I think one of the most impactful scenarios I witnessed, it is witnessing how two Hispanic females were treated by a salesperson when they were unaware of their unconscious bias,” a representative with “Check Your Bias” said.
They also take a quiz about professions and their personal circle.
“The more we can teach our students about these items, it makes them better employees and better citizens later on in life,” Lindquist said.
Those who experienced it say it was eye-opening.
“It felt pretty real, especially testimonials where you had a life-sized person standing in front of you talking about their experiences,” Natasha Torrez said.
“At UNM I think we are a huge melting pot, so we don’t think that a lot of times we don’t think about the other biases that other people may experience in their lifetime, and I think that it’s important for people to experience those things and have them on their minds,” Andrea Torrez said.
People are then asked to take a pledge to check their bias and take meaningful action to change them.
For more information on the bus, click here.