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MSU students tackling stereotypes with “Bias Buster” guides

Mar 29, 2016

Credit flickr user DryHundredFear / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

How do we break down stereotypes about each other?

That question has driven a Michigan State University journalism class to create a series of guides to help disassemble the myths and stereotypes about different groups in our country.

Bias Busters: Guides to Cultural Competence have been created by students. They're a series of questions and answers about African-Americans, East Asian cultures, Native Americans and more.

Joe Grimm is the instructor of the Seminar in Journalism class and editor-in-residence in the School of Journalism at Michigan State.

"The Bias Busters series is really intended for people who have a sincere interest in other people," Grimm says. "It might be somebody they work with, somebody who lives in their apartment building, somebody new to their family, and they have these questions, these very natural, human questions, but they are afraid to ask them because they don't want to sound dumb and they don't want to hurt someone's feelings. So we step in and take care of that."

Grimm says one of the core principles the students adhere to when writing these guides is, "respect for the people we write about and the people we're writing for."

"Nobody who reads the guide is going to get to a place where the guide says, 'Oh, well that's a dumb question,' or, 'That's a racist thing to ask about.' We take people as being sincerely interested in the subject, even if maybe the way they're phrasing the question isn't the best way."

Joe Grimm tells us more about the guides in our conversation above.