Principle #2 – Evaluate past beliefs for unconscious bias
As people have been protesting and keeping the injustices at the forefront of everyone’s mind, I have been educating myself on what unconscious bias is. I really want to understand the concepts, so I can see where I am helping and where I am hindering.
Unconscious bias is an attitude or belief that is in our subconscious brain about someone or something. These attitudes have been formed during our life by experiences or they can be formed by society and we adopt them as truth, unwittingly. ALL people have them.
For example, when I think about a third-grade teacher, how would I describe the teacher, before I have ever met or talked with the teacher? I assume she is female, she cares about kids, and I may assume she is like the third-grade teacher that I adored. Or she may be like the fourth-grade teacher that I didn’t like at all. On the surface, these unconscious biases are neither good nor bad. They just have nothing to do with the teacher or the reason the person chose to be a teacher. Or whether or not the person loves kids or even about their journey of becoming a teacher.
So, the idea is to make my unconscious biases/beliefs conscious. Then I can decide if this belief that I have known as the truth, until now, is actually simply my version of the truth, with no real observations, experiences, or facts.
Since bias affects our behavior and decisions, I owe it to myself to begin noticing them and deciding if they are really my truth.
“To know the true reality of yourself, you must be aware not only of your conscious thoughts, but also of your unconscious prejudices, bias, and habits.” – Anonymous
People of color in our country have been at the receiving end of unconscious bias and terribly unjust treatment for 400 years. The personal act of understanding my own unconscious bias is my beginning to being an ally. Listening, understanding, and taking forward action is my next step.
Please join me in doing our part to move our nation and democracy forward by examining our unconscious biases and becoming conscious of our thoughts and actions. The time is now! Let’s be the change for equality and justice for all humanity. Be positive and stay safe!
Freedom is possible!