I RECENTLY read in my science magazine that we are all a little bit racist in that our brains are wired to distinguish between “us” and “them”.

This is part of our evolutionary history and is not something that we can easily help.

Called “implicit bias”, it can affect our thoughts and behaviour in many subtle ways, and can be so deeply rooted in our subconscious that we are not even aware that it exists.

Luckily, it appears that this does not often affect people’s behaviour, and organisations are beginning to set up training programmes to raise awareness of its existence.

Research has shown that putting people into a diverse group with a common goal can reduce implicit bias.

For example, if you put black and white people into the same team then they all become “us” and co-operate on working together towards a common end.

This is what we in Altrincham Interfaith Group do in our Friendship Circles, I guess.

People from different faith groups and ethnic backgrounds come together in each other’s homes and become a little group, enjoying each other’s company and finding out about each other’s lives. They then become “us” instead of “us and them” and this is a great way of breaking down barriers and getting rid of the “implicit bias.”

I cannot think of a better way to improve community relations.

Carolyn Jones

Hon Sec, Altrincham Interfaith Group and member of Dunham Road Unitarian Chapel