The Force of Implicit Bias: Science & Rhetoric


Jerry Kang

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Recent findings in experimental social psychology have demonstrated the existence of "implicit biases"--attitudes and stereotypes that we are neither aware of nor necessarily endorse. In his talk, Vice Chancellor Jerry Kang addressed the implications of implicit bias for law, legal, and social institutions. He also addressed whether a rhetorical strategy that emphasizes such scientific findings increases the probability of institutional transformation.

Prof. Kang is an expert on Asian American communities and has written about hate crimes, affirmative action, the Japanese American internment and its lessons for the “War on Terror.” He is a co-author of Race, Rights, and Reparation: The Law and the Japanese American Internment (2d ed. Wolters Kluwer 2013).

On communications, Kang has published on the topics of privacy, net neutrality, pervasive computing, mass media policy and cyber-race (the construction of race in cyberspace). He is also the author of Communications Law & Policy: Cases and Materials (4th edition Foundation 2012), a leading casebook in the field.

During law school, Kang was a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review and special assistant to Harvard University’s Advisory Committee on Free Speech. After graduation, he clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, then worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on cyberspace policy.

He joined UCLA in 1995 and has been recognized for his teaching by being elected Professor of the Year in 1998; receiving the law school’s Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007; and being chosen for the highest university-wide distinction, the University Distinguished Teaching Award (The Eby Award for the Art of Teaching) in 2010. At UCLA, he was founding co-director of the Concentration for Critical Race Studies as well as PULSE: Program on Understanding Law, Science and Evidence. Kang has taught at Harvard and Georgetown law schools and was recently the David M. Friedman Fellow at NYU’s Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law & Justice.

Kang is a member of the American Law Institute, has chaired the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Defamation and Privacy, has served on the Board of Directors of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and has received numerous awards including the World Technology Award for Law and Vice President Al Gore’s Hammer Award for Reinventing Government.


Professor Kang’s teaching and research interests include civil procedure, race and communications. On race, he has focused on the nexus between implicit bias and the law with the goal of advancing a “behavioral realism” in legal analysis. He regularly collaborates with leading experimental social psychologists on wide-ranging scholarly, educational and advocacy projects. He also lectures broadly to lawyers, judges, government agencies and corporations about implicit bias.