Implicit Bias Training Is About Ethics

I’ve written about how organizations need Chief Ethics Officers. And they do. 

Recently, Starbucks came under fire when an incident occurred with Black customers who had the police called on them for simply being there. Starbucks responded to this incident by closing for a day for implicit bias training.

Whether implicit bias training works is yet to be seen. However, the point is the company responded–and it did so from an ethical standpoint. 

No one has yet outlawed implicit bias. You are completely allowed, under law, to be as biased as you want. That’s likely the way it should be. So this is not a matter of compliance. It’s not a matter for, specifically, a JD. It’s a matter of ethics. It’s a matter for philosophers.

This case is but one of many cases across to world which demonstrates the need for ethics in our public life. Ethics can, we hope, contrary to research by Eric Schwitzgebel, make us better people. It can make us act better. It can reduce bias in our own thinking and in the thinking of our customers.

So, next time someone asks you whether we need ethics in our public life, our policy-making and our organizations, you can confidently say, “Yes! Absolutely.”