Chapter Eight

Retribution Bias

So far, we have tackled a number of biases that work in a number of dangerous ways. In these final two chapters, we are turning toward a bias that enacts oppression by tapping into intersecting unconscious biases of race, class, and gender and adding in a particularly American notion of retributive justice, which not only harms people within organizations but functionally keeps people out of our workplaces and organizations. This bias is “retribution bias.”

We’re going to be spending the next two chapters on retribution bias because it has such a tremendous impact on people’s lives—economically, socially, and spiritually. If we think of institutional biases as social forces, this particular bias has acted in powerful ...

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