Most people will not identify as being racist when asked. But do their actions show the same? Most of us carry unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is the implicit prejudices that we act on without being consciously aware of them. This implicit bias has a direct impact on the people around us and on our own actions and mental thought. As a society in the Americas we have been conditioned to think and feel a certain way which has stemmed from slavery.
For all the ally’s out there that want to support Black Lives. Start to recognize your own unconscious bias and teach your children to do the same. Unconscious bias starts in young childhood, so don’t wait to talk with your children. Seek support prior to talking to your children so you are not replicating the same bias’s on to your children.
Now what I am suggesting that you do is not going to be easy. Changing a mental thought that you are aware of is hard enough, now changing a mental thought that you may not have realized you were having is nearly impossible. But its not impossible. It just requires commitment. Like anything in life if you dedicate time and energy anything is possible. There are supports online that will help teach you to recognize your unconscious bias. Check out www.leanin.org or www.vernamyers.com. There are many resources to help you recognize your unconscious bias.
Try these strategies to address unconscious bias:
Develop a strong sense of self-awareness
Understand the concept of implicit bias to allow for better awareness and open-mindedness.
Consciously change your stereotypes and adjust your response.
In a safe space create opportunity for discussion (this does not mean bombarding your Black friend/colleague with questions, however starting a conversation in a safe space may promote growth)
Review your internal conversations.
Adjust your perspective and expose yourself to learn about different cultures.
I write this blog from the perspective of an anti-oppressive leader within my community. Remember this “Impact vs Intent”. Although your intent may be good, your impact may not have the same effect.
Written by: Tyfanny Ross, BSW, MSW