A new kind of tour bus is rolling into Summerfest this year, and it’s hoping to open your eyes rather than your ears. The CEO Action Check Your Blindspots Tour is parked by the main entrance to Summerfest grounds, and its showing attendees experiences they might not have had before.
Justin Scott, a tour coordinator for Check Your Blindspots, says one of the main goals of the tour is to increase inclusivitiy in the workplace. The tour is not limited to the workplace, though, and holistically shows the every-day lives of people in America.
“The main goal is to have people understand what others experience on a daily basis,” Scott says.
The tour attempts to dispel judgments and teach people new ways of thinking about diversity. Guests start by listening to phone conversations that show how a person’s bias can affect their decision-making in a variety of scenarios; the bias gets harder to spot when you go inside and have to pick all the bias moments in a conversation between two coworkers trying to plan an after-work gathering.
The tour is not exactly linear; you might be shown testimonies from people in underrepresented communities while looking at yourself in a digital mirror. You might strap on a VR headset and experience bias from the perspective of an onlooker. You might watch videos on how to increase objectivity and learn new thinking techniques to dispel bias. All of these are available and the virtual reality should especially be checked out.
One of the main takeaways, based on responses from people who had just taken the pledge, is self-reflection.
“It was good to take a look at myself,” Jan Niemczyk says.
Niemczyk says she has been reading and learning more about the relationship between the black community and the police. One of the virtual reality scenarios depicts a black man being locked out of his car, as a white neighbor calls over a nearby police officer (the viewer is experiencing this from the perspective of the man’s friend, in what’s developing as a tense situation.) That was a highlight for her.
Another woman, who requested not to be named, says the experience taught her to be more understanding and open of other religions, particularly Islam. Through her experience on the bus, she acknowledged she’s bias against Muslims.
“Not everybody thinks the same, you know?” she says. “We need to be better about hearing what others have to say.”
The tour focuses on a wide spectrum of bias: bias against race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, disability, even employability bias exemplified by visible tattoos and single motherhood. These are candid stories from your friends, your neighbors and your coworkers.
“You’re looking reality in the face,” one man says, who requested not to be named.
The tour is a year long and will be making 100 stops in 2019. They will be at Summerfest through June 30. It’s also air-conditioned, which should be a major plus.