I, like most people I hope, don’t think of myself as a racist. I define a racist as someone who makes decisions or judgements based on their preconceptions of someone and I don’t put myself in that category.
However, during a lecture the other week we spoke about conscious and unconscious bias and I really like these terms. I think we all do possess an unconscious bias and to an extent a conscious hidden bias as I certainly catch myself making a comment to either a friend or just thinking something that if said to the wrong person could be offensive. I believe that thinking these things doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a racist. In our society we are surrounded by sayings, attitudes and behaviours that can alter our perspective on topics such as race and ethnicity. I’m sure we all had grandparents that would use a term that certainly wasn’t politically correct but you would know that they wouldn’t mean it as a derogatory term, or if they did it would most likely be because that’s what they were brought up saying. We all possess this unconscious bias that we accept as normal but other may not.
Nowadays we are much more open and that is a fact. The next generation seem to have really embraced every walk of life you’ve heard of and probably some you haven’t. At the beginning of our lecture covering this topic we were asked to note down a few words that showed our understanding of Racism, ethnicity and discrimination, my words were
colour country pride preconception nationality community
bias sexuality gender bigotry hurtful self doubt
After a some thought and considering the ideas covered in our lectured I stand by my initial thoughts but would add a few more in such as fear, embarrassment and suspicion. I feel I have a further understanding of racism but not enough to truly understand it and I don’t think anyone really can. One thing I can say a that I took away from these lessons was a sense of confusion. I don’t know if I will ever be able to understand how people can treat other people with such disgrace. We are all human after all. While I may have a few rogue thoughts every now and then I really do believe everyone is equal which apparently is not everyone’s thoughts if we refer to recent events around the world.
To end on a light note, there is a song from the musical Avenue Q that I feel really encapsulates everyday bias. It touches on unconscious bias and I think, no matter open minded you are, everyone can relate to this.