Guest Blog – Implicit Bias / Unconscious Bias: Impact as a Social Work Supervisor

Brandon Garrick wrote several guest blogs while he was earning his Masters Degree in Social Work at NC State University. Brandon has thus far focused his social work with the often underserved prison population, and is now pursuing his Doctorate in Social Work at the University of Kentucky.

You can search for Brandon’s past blogs on this page (Search on Brandon) that covered topics such men’s health issues, the disproportionate African-American population in US prisons, suicide prevention and misconceptions of atheists.

Introduction: Implicit bias (also called unconscious bias) refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner (Blair,2002). These biases are important to acknowledge and challenge as they can promote disparities in various ecological systems.

For instance, implicit biases can negatively impact a provider’s inclination to engage in patient-centered care, provide referrals to specialized treatment, or even adhere to evidence-based guidelines when serving diverse populations (Hall et al., 2015).

The following reflection will discuss how I scored on the Implicit Attitude Test (IAT) on race and my reaction to it. I will discuss previous training that I have received on implicit biases. In addition, I will detail my thoughts and feelings about my biases and why it matters as a supervisor.

Discussion. When I was in graduate school, I had the opportunity to take a Professional Certification course on diversity, equity and inclusion due to my cousin being one of the presenters. The training was mainly for diversity and inclusion professionals and was held at Rutgers Business school by the National Diversity Council.

At this training, I learned about implicit biases and their negative influences on diversity and inclusion in hiring. The training discussed the benefits of having a diverse workforce, specifically regarding the diversity of thought in business.

There are multiple best practices to address and challenge implicit biases. One method an individual could take to address implicit biases is to continue researching and self-reflect. In social work, we often discuss the importance of self-reflection in supervision and practice. The first step in overcoming unconscious biases is to become aware of them, which I aim to do as I take the IAT on race.

The IAT is anonymous test that measures attitudes toward or beliefs about certain racial, ethnic, or religious groups. I selected the one on race due to my belief that I will do well on it.

My responses suggested a slight automatic preference for European Americans over African Americans. My results are accurate despite my questioning of the exercises involved in the test. I thought I would score in this range because there are areas to improve if I wanted to fall into the little to no automatic preference between African American and European categories.

Supervisor: I am content with my score and biases, but I worry that they can negatively influence me as a supervisor. In addition, this IAT on race only focused on race, and I am sure I have deeper biases towards other social groups. I know implicit biases could negatively influence me as a supervisor, and I must work towards overcoming them.
Continuing education and reflection will be vital in overcoming my implicit bias. Pursuing higher education (MSW, now DSW) has reduced my level of implicit bias.

Conclusion: After taking the IAT on race, I am more knowledgeable about my implicit biases toward African Americans. The website is a good source, and I plan to take additional ones to see where I stand regarding implicit biases toward others. My goal is to be an excellent supervisor that promotes social justice among my supervisees, and this goal holds the responsibility of overcoming and challenging implicit bias. In addition, as a social worker, I have the ethical responsibility to challenge oppressive policies and systems (NASW, 2021).


Blair I. V. (2002). The malleability of automatic stereotypes and prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 242–261. 10.1207/S15327957PSPR0603_8

Hall WJ, Chapman MV, Lee KM (2015). Implicit racial/ethnic bias among health care professionals and its influence on health care outcomes: a systematic review. American Journal of Public Health 105: e60–e76, Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar

National Association of Social Workers (2021). Code of ethics. retrieved from

Race IAT retrieved from

Happy New Year – My Top 7 Blogs of 2018

This is now becoming an annual tradition – looking at my website statistics for the past entire year and listing my top seven most read blogs as a New Year feature.

I normally blog about my two areas of consulting a few times each month: Diversity with a specialization in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace; and career and skills development based on my innovative Total Engagement Career Mapping process. And once in a while I throw in a more personal blog or rant about something that is irking me.

In 2018, for the first, time, all seven most read blogs dealt with some sort of diversity topic, with diversity within sports being the most popular. Also, this year, two of the seven top blogs were written by guest bloggers, my cousin Brandon Garrick and one of my consulting associates Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado. Here are the “Top 7 of 2018” in reverse order:

7. The seventh most read blog of 2018 was guest written by my cousin Brandon Garrick, Masters of Social Work Candidate at NC State University. “Five steps to reduce mass incarceration of African Americans” was a follow up to his first blog about the key impacts of the mass incarceration of Black Americans.

6. Number 6 was “Five Key Messages on the Importance of Out Gay Olympic Athletes” which focuses on the value and importance of Olympic athletes being open about their sexual orientation, an increasingly critical message for today’s youth.

5. My fifth most popular blog was “Three Wonderful Recent Examples of Diversity and Sports,” in which I provide three short summaries with links about an NFL football player with one hand, an WNBA player who is a new mother with her wife, and a college track star who overcame a harsh abusive upbringing in Africa.

4. Number 4 is “Seven Biases in the Workplace – Let’s Be Brutally Honest About It.” I challenge us all to be brutally honest about unconscious biases that can pop into our heads about the diverse co-workers we interact with, and to address it with action.

3. Number 3 was the 2014 – 2016 number 1,and the 2017 #2, actually published way back in 2011! As many people search for online resources about diversity training, they found and read my 2011 blog “Three Components of Diversity Training,” where I discuss three major components required for diversity training and exactly who within an enterprise should be trained. I have also updated that blog to include links to more resources including to a blog sharing a sample outline of diversity and inclusion training contents.

2. This past year’s number 2 blog, “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People” was a guest piece written in 2016 by my part-time bilingual consultant on staff, Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado.

As an adult competitive figure skater myself, I enjoy including skating and skaters in my blogs.

1. And finally, by a complete runaway with 35,000 hits across the two blog was my 2016 personal labor of love which included several personal photos that I took, “Seven Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating.” along with this year’s Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman.)

Thanks to all the readers who enjoy and share my blogs. In 2019, if you want to be notified each time I do publish, you can like my business facebook page (Link), or if you subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, I include a short summary and links to the past month’s writings.

Wishing all my readers a wonderful 2019 filled with much contentment, success and hopefully a rebounding stock market!