DE&I Speaker Dallas

Redefining Diversity: Exploring Unconscious Bias and Microaggressions

Published On: June 29th, 2023Categories: Diversity and Inclusion2.6 min read

Diversity is a buzzword that is commonly used in workplaces, schools, and communities. However, true diversity goes beyond skin color, gender, and religion. Diversity includes all individuals, regardless of their differences. To embrace diversity, we must first recognize and overcome unconscious biases and microaggressions.

As a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) speaker, I have had the opportunity to work with various organizations to help them redefine diversity and explore the impact of unconscious bias and microaggressions. In this blog, I will discuss the importance of redefining diversity, how unconscious bias and microaggressions can impact individuals and organizations, and provide strategies to address them.

Redefining Diversity

Diversity is often limited to physical characteristics such as race and gender. However, true diversity encompasses a wide range of identities, including but not limited to, age, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status. Redefining diversity is crucial because it helps us recognize and appreciate the unique qualities and experiences that each individual brings to the table.

When we embrace diversity, we foster a sense of belonging and create an environment that encourages innovation, creativity, and productivity. However, unconscious biases and microaggressions can hinder our ability to create an inclusive environment.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias refers to the automatic, unintentional, and often subconscious mental associations we make about people, things, or situations. These biases are formed based on our experiences, values, beliefs, and cultural background. Unconscious bias can lead to unfair treatment, missed opportunities, and ultimately, discrimination.

For example, a manager may unconsciously favor an employee who has a similar background, education, or interests, even though they may not be the most qualified candidate for a job. To address unconscious bias, we must first become aware of it. Organizations can provide training to help employees recognize and address their biases.


Microaggressions are subtle or indirect expressions of prejudice or discrimination. They can be intentional or unintentional and often involve a power dynamic. Microaggressions can take many forms, including verbal, nonverbal, and environmental.

For example, assuming someone’s gender or sexual orientation based on their appearance is a form of microaggression. Using language that is culturally insensitive or offensive is another example. Microaggressions can create a hostile work environment, lead to decreased productivity, and ultimately, result in employee turnover.

Strategies to Address Unconscious Bias and Microaggressions

Organizations can take several steps to address unconscious bias and microaggressions. One of the most effective strategies is to provide training to all employees. This training should cover the following:

Define diversity and its importance
Identify unconscious bias and its impact
Recognize and address microaggressions
Provide tools to promote inclusion and belonging
Additionally, organizations can establish a diversity and inclusion committee to ensure that all voices are heard and to promote diversity in decision-making. Leaders should also model inclusive behavior and language to set the tone for the organization.

Wrapping It Up

Diversity goes beyond skin color, gender, and religion. To embrace diversity, we must recognize and address unconscious bias and microaggressions. Redefining diversity is crucial because it helps us appreciate the unique qualities and experiences that each individual brings to the table.