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Working Toward Equal Justice: Addressing the Challenges of Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat for Legal Aid Lawyers

Rachel D. Godsil, Director of Research and Co-founder, Perception Institute, and Dushaw Hockett, Executive Director, Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity (SPACEs)

Legal aid and legal services lawyers are on the front lines in an increasingly hostile environment for poor people and people of color. However, the explicit racism and xenophobia that have become resurgent in our society are not the only barriers to equity and fairness. While it can be painful to acknowledge, even those of us committed to ideals of equity often fail to act upon our deeply held values. Cutting edge social science provides both an answer to this seeming contradiction and a way forward. In this article, we seek to make a case that to begin to achieve racially equitable outcomes for clients and the communities in which they live, it is critical to address the risks of our unconscious responses to race, ethnicity, and other lines of difference.

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