5 Ways To Address Your Hidden Bias: Speaking About Diversity with Children
The following is a guest post by Dr. Bethany Cook.
Did you know our brains, like eyes, also have blind spots? And, as it turns out, these blind spots can have a big impact on our perception of the world around us, including how we think about race. Clinical Psychologist, Health Service Psychologist, and Board Certified Music Therapist, Dr. Bethany Cook shares insights on the complex and overlapping interplay of how race impacts a person's life. This is arguably some of the most important work we can do in raising kids who understand and actively work against racism.
Dr. Bethany Cook shares a list of things you can do which will begin rewiring your brain and help minimize hidden biases.
5 Things To Do To Address Your Hidden Biases
1. Find Out What Your Biases Are.
Two psychologists, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald, have spent their careers studying ways to assess hidden biases. They developed the Implicit Association Test (IAT) which is able to pull back our own curtain and peek into our “unconscious” mind. Be prepared though, because the results may surprise you. Click here to take a test or two.
2. Take Some Courses Focused On Overcoming Hidden Bias.
The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity developed an online course to help people decrease hidden associations/biases by doing daily recommended activities. Click here to do a “Bias Cleanse”.
3. Actively Seek Out Making Friends of A Different Race.
Think about your 3 best friends. Studies have predicted they are all the same race as you. (Of course there are always outliers). Hanging out with friends of the same race isn’t bad. However, limiting your exposure to people outside of your “in-group” (a term used in psychology to describe people who share certain characteristics) is said to perpetuate both positive and negative stereotypes about “others” and are maintained by a lack of connection to people outside of said “group.” So, make some new friends. Start a local “Meet-Up” group in your neighborhood and model for your children how to reach out and connect to others.
4. Expose Yourself to Counter-stereotyping Imagery.
To change the narrative, you must change the imagery and associations. One way to do this is as simple as switching up your screensaver. Have positive pictures of people of all colors and cultures rotate across the screen. Watch shows starring people of color in leading and heroic roles. Make sure the shows and cartoons your children watch offer a variety of ethnicity and culture which is accurately depicted. If a show you are watching starts playing into negative stereotypes shut it off. Seek out new friends on your social media accounts that share common interests as you but come from a different culture.
5. Learn About People You Admire From Underrepresented Groups.
Researchers have proven that by simply admiring someone who is different from you can undo hidden biases. So order a book or two about someone you’ve always wanted to learn more about and start reading.
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