Understanding Our Biases, Especially When We Think We Have None

in blacklivesmatter •  last month 


Over the past week, I've seen parts of my hometown Minneapolis burned down, parts of my city under military control, seen people of all colors coming together to clean up the destruction, and people working tirelessly to provide resources to so many who have lost their neighborhood stores due to the rioting. People standing guard throughout the night, protecting their areas from white supremacists who are still making their presence known even under a military curfew. People arguing about who's to blame, people in solidarity against police brutality, and people who have stayed silent.

It's been one of the most eye-opening stretches of time in my life in terms of trying to understand root causes of issues, as well as whether or not I have inadvertently developed biases that I was unaware of over the years. I would say for the majority of people reading this, you consider yourselves to be an unbiased person who does their part to dismantle racism, whether that's through donations, social media, or volunteer work. I, being a Latino male myself, thought I would definitely fall into that group. But then I stumbled across this website: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/, which is straight from Harvard and has a surprising amount of Implicit Bias tests that you can take, trying to examine whether or not you may have developed invisible feelings towards groups of people over the years. Some of the test examples included straight/transgender bias, old/young, and black/white.

I was shocked by some of the results that showed. Things that I would have bet a fair amount of money on were the opposite of what I thought I believed, or at least moderately different. I would like to think I still consciously hold these beliefs that I thought I did, but the tests definitely opened my eyes to the fact that even as a minority in America, I still have some work to do.

If you have a free half hour or so, try taking a few of the tests if you can. You may be shocked by some of the things the test uncovers (as to the accuracy of the test, I cannot speak to it). But I think the point of the test is not to discourage anyone by the results. It's to spark work within yourself in order to understand yourself deeper and working to change any thought patterns you may have unconsciously fell into. Change is necessary in America on so many levels. But as with all things, change on a large scale starts in the tiniest of scales: yourself. Work on the inside almost always leads to a better outside.

"A Single Seed" is my attempt to get out one idea every day that I've learned or accumulated over the years, with the hope that it may stick in someone else's memory bank as well. The idea may be related to fitness, business, life, or philosophy, but I think you'll find that many can change domains if you wish them to. With each seed planted, a new life awaits.

Image credit: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Des_Moines_Protests_George_Floyd_Murder_(49950236178).jpg

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Just got back from Mpls. This is the crowd at 38th and Chicago, looking north:

One of several memorials near the intersection, this one on the north side of 38th Street, just east of Chicago Avenue:


We just got back a few minutes ago too. Felt like a festival with the sun going down. Really cool to see the community coming together.