Definition of Terms

A Bias Incident is conduct, speech, or expression that is motivated by bias, but does not rise to the level of a crime. Bias incidents encompass a broad spectrum of activity, from silently avoiding contact with someone because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristics, to hosting a private party where participants dress up in blackface.

Bias incidents arise from the expression of both explicit biases and implicit biases that an individual or group may hold. Explicit Bias is conscious and intentional bias expressed through language or gesture and intended to insult and demean another person. Implicit Bias exists “outside the level of awareness because [it is] deeply embedded in the psyche and made invisible” (Sue, 2010). While implicit bias may not be grounded in intention, the impact of the bias still exists for the individuals or groups who experience its effect. Both forms of bias also can take the form of on-going microaggressions.

Microaggressions are “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely on their marginalized group status” (Sue, et al., 2007).

Ultimately, regardless of origin, bias incidents have the potential to disrupt teaching and learning, a sense of belonging and community, student success, and the overall campus climate at PLU.

Citation Information
Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life: Race, gender, and sexual orientation. New York, NY: Wiley.

Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J. M., Holder, A. M. B., Nadal, K. L., et al. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice. American Psychologist, 62, 271–286.