The popular TV show has come under scrutiny recently after a contestant was removed from the show. Sherif, a black male contestant on the show, was removed after an incident where he was play fighting with a female contestant, Molly-Mae, during which he used crude language and accidentally kicked her in the groin. However, on last year’s show the same word was used during an argument between two female contestants and that contestant was not removed.
Sherif has accused the show of unconscious bias. He stated that “the people who are in charge of the show maybe have an unconscious bias around the rules and regulations for boys and girls and maybe different races”.
He also went on to say that the unconscious bias is present during the casting process and in the choices that are made about which sections will appear on air time. He states that there is an expectation to couple up with certain people based on what they think is the norm and he feels like the airtime which contestants of his race and races similar to his get “was very disproportionate to [their] value in the villa”.
Love Island refuted all accusations and said that Sherif “agreed he broke the rules and should leave”.
Unconscious bias in the workplace
Our brains make incredibly quick judgements and assessments of people or situations without us realising it, which can lead to unconscious bias. Our inbuilt biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences.
Employers must be aware of unconscious biases and the hidden preferences they bring to their decision making.
Employers must be aware that unconscious bias exists and take steps to eliminate it from the workplace so that preferences do not influence decisions relating to e.g. recruitment, promotions, investigations and disciplinary procedures.
By challenging unconscious bias and making managers more aware of the hidden preferences they bring to their decision making and you can ensure they hire the best person for the job. This approach should also lead to employers having a more diverse workforce, which research has shown leads to a more innovative and productive workforce.
Employers should consider training staff to raise awareness of unconscious bias. At Baines Wilson we offer a number of in house equality and diversity training (including unconscious bias), if you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact Joanne Holborn on 01228552600 or firstname.lastname@example.org