Building Awareness and Facing Bias

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

Discovering biases that are otherwise unconscious and overcoming those biases is hard work that requires us to develop awareness.

Being brave enough to discover the limitations of your humanity is important. It’s how we teach our children to appreciate others, it’s how we learn to respond rather than react, and it’s how we develop collaboration to find solutions rather than relying on defensiveness or offensiveness when talking about difficult issues.

Since bias is generally unconscious, it can be hard to know where to begin which is why Harvard University has developed an implicit bias quiz that can yield interesting results about the unconscious bias we hold toward people from all walks of life. Knowing what you can do to continue building awareness is also difficult, but Verna Myers’ Ted Talk on How to Overcome Our Biases is inspiring if you’re on this journey of self discovery.

Building awareness within ourselves is important not only for our own well being but for our kids as well.

In a recent Facebook Live, Narkeya Byrd -- MAR organizer and therapist -- talked about creating safe spaces to talk about difficult problems and the importance of checking in with our kids regularly so that “it won’t seem weird” when that check-in is necessary. Check out the conversations in Facebook to see what other moms are doing to create these safe spaces and what kinds of questions you might want to ask your kids.

Some advice from Jen Carter, Certified Integrative Health Coach specializing in mindfulness based approaches, emphasizes that “building awareness is the key to any kind of change or forward movement. The key with awareness is to be mindful, which means being curious and non-judgmental about what you discover. A great way to do this is to check in with yourself periodically throughout the day. You may set specific places or times to do this. For example, I have made it a habit to check in with myself during transition times (getting into the car, between activities, before or after meals, etc.) by pausing for a moment and feeling my breath in my body.” This type of routine might be something worth teaching our children.

What else have you tried?

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