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Home News Jason Thompson Addresses Recognizing Biases

By: Madison Pitsch

Jason Thompson, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion of the United States Olympics Committee (USOC), wants you to embrace the tension that comes with difference of opinion.

“Everyone has bias,” said Thompson, “and all I want for you to do is realize that you have it.”

Thompson encouraged listeners to embrace the awkward tension between difference of opinion in order to create a community that is inclusive because diversity and inclusion stem from discussion of differing opinions.

Concordia’s own Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted Thompson as one of their first guest speakers on Tuesday, Oct. 17. His resume includes developing the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion program for the United States Olympic Committee and being named a 2017 Diversity Leader by Diversity Journal. In contrast to his accolades, Thompson also shared a story about flunking out of college.

Covering topics such as diversity on the Olympic teams and staff as well as applying diversity and inclusion tactics in real life, Thompson had a clear message for the audience: diversity improves a group. Statistics from USOC research show that teams who were diverse in terms of gender, race, religion, etc. were more likely to win medals in the Olympics than teams that were not.

Thompson pointed out the crowds’ natural assumptions that were made and things they took for granted throughout the presentation. A video without subtitles puts deaf and hard of hearing people at a disadvantage. The auditorium was difficult to navigate for people who use wheelchairs, with the only wheelchair seating being in the back.

“All of us have some form of unconscious bias that we use,” said Thompson “We make all kinds of assumptions about the world that we never think about. It determines how we interact with the world.”

Thompson encouraged the crowd to recognize their own biases first and foremost, and that this would make all the difference in making Concordia’s campus more diverse and inclusive.

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