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Biases that Bind Our Thinking

This week people across the United States took a collective sigh as the verdict of Derek Chauvin was announced. Some people shouted in celebration, some cried tears of relief and others sat quietly taking it all in.

Whether the emotion was of jubilation or sorrow, we all felt something. Families on both sides of aisle are grieving. Friends and co-workers on both sides are wringing their hands and the world continues to watch and grieve as well.

How we handle ourselves moving forward will determine whether this show of accountability will be enough to truly push us towards a more perfect union in this country or not. Many argue that police are trained to react in extreme matters, particularly against people of color, and there is certainly evidence of that with the killings of black men and women just in recent years.

However, I think that the real culprit is bias. Bias is a set of beliefs that causes one to think one thing or another about a group of people and paint everyone in that group with the same brush. Biases begin at the stages of childhood. They grow from simple things that we see and hear, as well as lessons taught to us by our family and community.

We all have biases. You may have a biases towards driving Ford trucks, because your dad and granddad only drove Ford trucks. You might have a bias towards only eating a certain type of food because that’s what you were raised eating. You might have chosen a particular college because your parents attended that college or university. The more extreme cases of bias are racial, religious, gender and sexual orientation biases that cause you to treat others differently, harshly and with judgement.

A serious peeling back of the layers of your upbringing will help you in determining where the “harmful” impressions came from. Once you uncover the deeds and words that have caused you to have misconceived beliefs about a group of people, you can begin to dismantle the walls with the truth. You will need to arm yourself with information and new experiences, which you can do by getting to know people that you might only have known at a distance.

Get to really know someone of a different faith or belief system instead of walking around with untruths about a whole group of people who worship differently than you do. Make it your business to explore the many cultures around you, the different upbringings, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds.

To help you on your journey, order a copy of my book, “Biases – A Guide for Uncovering Areas of Unconscious Bias,”

This is a great book for a study group, families, and teams at work. After reading this book you’ll not only gain a better understanding about different people, you’ll gain a better understanding about yourself.

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