Just because we don’t want to believe something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. That goes for all of us humans, including you and me.
Yes, you can go on the internet and find dozens of articles by reputable sources claiming implicit bias is not real, or is real but insignificantly so. And as you pithily pointed out, its existence can’t be proven or unproven.
As for myself, I know it’s real. I’ve lived it. Very few people have the kind of experience I do, from growing up in ground zero for racism in America (MS Delta), proud of my family’s Confederate heritage, attending a segregation academy one year followed by attending an nearly-all Black school the next, then — among many other things — finally buying a house in a place where Whites are outnumbered perhaps 10,000 to 1 (no, I’m not exaggerating).
In other words, I not only grew up racist and lived where segregation was still extant even twenty years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but I’ve also unlearned that racism and lived where I’m almost the only White for miles in any direction. Not many can say that.
My experience also taught me that malicious racists (neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the like) are very much the exception to the rule, that most racists are good, honest, and hardworking people who have absolutely no malice towards those of other races. Racism doesn’t require malice, but only requires untoward assumptions about those of other races or ethnicities. That’s a much broader net, mind you, and so would apply to most people of every race.
Of course, my own experience is not quantifiable and thus cannot serve as proof for you…but don’t worry, I’m getting to the point.
Would you agree that racism isn’t just a White thing, but that there are racists among all races and cultures on the planet? I’m sure you would…and so would I. Since we are all equally human, it must be a fact that those of any race can be racist.
But here’s the key, what I believe to be a sociological fact: in any given nation, there will be one and only one socioeconomically-dominant demographic (which may be racial, ethnic, and/or religious in nature), and that demographic will commit the most — and the most egregious — acts of prejudice.
In China, the Han are the dominant race — see what they do to the Tibetans and the Uighurs. In Japan, it’s the “ethnic Japanese”, and you can look up their historical prejudice towards the Ainu, the indigenous people of their northern island of Hokkaido. In India, it’s the Brahmin against the Dalit (who were once called the “untouchables”). In Rwanda, it was the Tutsi over the majority Hutus, and it led to the genocide in the mid 1990’s (and it wasn’t the first). In Mexico, it’s the Hispanics over the Native Mexicans.
And in America, it’s WASPs over almost anyone who isn’t a WASP, especially when it comes to nonwhites. Again, this principle applies to every nation on the planet.
Like I said above, racism isn’t a White thing…but since we (currently) have the socioeconomic dominance in “western” nations, we commit the most (and the most egregious) acts of prejudice in those nations.
NOW go back to what I said earlier, that most racists are not malicious but simply have untoward assumptions about other races. This, being further enabled by socioeconomic dominance, is what enables implicit bias.
I have no illusions that I’m going to convince you, but I’ve led a life along a road very few have traveled, and that’s what my life has taught me.