The Doe is an online website and newspaper that aims to help people to move beyond their own prejudices and into a free and more open society where the truth is central. The believe that one of the most important ways to do so is to move mast prejudice – something many of us suffer from.
For example – do you ever find yourself giving off reactions that you are not proud of?
Do You never…
– …reflexively laugh at jokes that could be considered offensive?
– … think, “that really overweight fellow should be eating a carrot stick instead of a sundae.”
– … adjust your walking speed if moving past a young gentleman of a different race when walking late at night?
– … treat male children and female children differently?
– … feel discomfort when seeing two men displaying signs of affection of when in the presence of transgender persons?
Some people are explicitly opposed to those of different races, class, culture, sexual inclinations or other stereotypes. Nevertheless, there is implicit bias here. This refers to the sometimes more subtle and hidden attitudes that many have but are not always completely aware of. While you may believe in your heart that everyone is created equal, some part of you may act inconsistently as in the cases mentioned above.
If you have noticed this and are eager to make a positive change, here are some important tips on aligning your attitudes to your belief system
Take the Implicit Associations Test.
One way you can begin challenging your implicit biases is by realizing they exist and to what extent. This could be done by taking any of the Implicit Association Tests you can find on Project Implicit.
The first step will be taking a demographics test at the beginning of the test and takes about 10 minutes to do right. There are several different options for the test including weight, sex and race. The weight bias test is the most interesting of all because this bias is one that still exists in a somewhat socially acceptable way in modern culture. But, this bias can be especially damaging as a company may not hire an overweight person as they believe they may lack the energy or focus to do a job right.
Identify situations where implicit biases affect how you think and act.
Next, expand your awareness by thinking as many cases where these implicit biases can be affecting your personal behavior. You will need to be as specific as you can in these cases. For example, maybe you choose to bake cookies with your niece and practice WWE wrestling with your nephew. Swap this around and bake cookies with your nephew next time, just to shake things up a bit.
Make a conscious effort to be friendlier and not behave defensively when interacting with those you feel are different.
The way you act controls the thoughts you have, if you are friendlier toward people, you will lose your discomfort around them. Make a plan that focuses on specific actions. Perhaps you have a neighbor that you avoid because of their numerous tattoos and age difference. If you are a college student and notice that you prefer the advice of your national American instructors, consider the wealth of intelligence and experience you are not tapping into. Try looking for advice from those foreign-born individuals.
Become aware of your “positive stereotypes.”
While they may seem harmless, even “positive stereotypes” can have negative consequences and leave people feeling trapped by their identity. So, don’t ask your lesbian friend to borrow her power tools for your carpentry project, unless she has already offered them. And don’t assume that every Asian is also an expert at computer technology.
Hang out with people who have better attitudes than you.
If you see you have deeply ingrained stereotypes, see if you can hang out with people with better attitudes. For example, my wife volunteers in a community shelter where she spends time with many homeless men. When I hear about her day and the experiences she has lived, I understand these people and have a better attitude toward them.
Expose yourself to media and influences that break down discrimination.
One great way to do this is to get involved in social media communities and even to follow more open news outlets such as The Doe.com. These outlets aren’t like the big 6 and provide a more even keel from which to consume news.