ARTICLE

Understanding Implicit Bias Through Photography

In this middle and high school-level grant, students use photography to understand implicit bias and consider how they see themselves and others.

Background

Students examine portraits taken by photographer Wing Young Huie and discuss their assumptions about the subjects in the photos. They then explore the concept of implicit bias and create a photography project about implicit bias as it relates to their own identities.

Level: School 

 

Grade Level: 7-12

 

Location: Rural Northeast Minnesota

Goals

  • Provide a safe environment for students to explore their own implicit biases and to take steps to become more understanding of others
  • Use photographs as a tool to explore identity and bias 
  • Use art and writing to explore implicit bias 

 

Grantee Reflection

“Students need to be able to talk about difficult things going on in their lives and communities with someone who cares about them. Providing the opportunity to share takes effort. We all need to listen.”

 

Procedure

Interested? Here's how you can do this project in your classroom.

 

What You’ll Need

  • Black construction paper 
  • White chalk 
  • Digital cameras or phones with cameras
  • Image editing software (like PhotoShop)
  • A printer 

 

Steps

  1. Purchase a classroom set of What Do You See? or access the images online.
  2. Distribute the images to students and ask them to read and discuss. 
  3. Introduce the notion of implicit bias and ask students what it means to them. Use the zine photos as a springboard for discussion.
  4. Review Wing Young Huie’s description of his “Chalk Talk” workshop. 
  5. During the lesson, have students work with a partner to practice their interviewing and listening skills by discussing the following questions:
    • What are you?
    • How do you think others see you? What don’t they see?
    • What advice would you give to a stranger?
  6. Have students select one of their responses and explore it in writing.
  7. When they have an answer they like, have them write it on black construction paper with chalk. 
  8. Arrange students in pairs and have them photograph one another holding their responses.
  9. Display the student work at school or another location, such as a public library. Hang the written statements next to the photographs. 
  10. If possible, host an event where students can share their work and answer questions from their community, family and peers.

 

Related Resources

Young student holding sign that says "People say I do not belong I say no."
Young student holding sign that says "I am a courageous kid."
Young student holding sign that says "It's okay to be gay."
Young student holding sign that says "I was made with a cookie cutter around me. I want to break free, but I don't know how. My family is my key."
Young student holding a sign that says "If you forget who you really are, you start to try and fit in. If you remember who you are, you get to truly know who YOU are, not who other people are."
Young student holding sign that says "Quiet but listen very well."
Young student holding sign that says "I show happiness and joy to hide how I really feel."
Young student holding a sign that says "Don't let others put you down."