Saturday, July 30, 2016

6 Ways to Stop the Racist in You

C. Coimbra photo

Editor's Note: This is excerpted from the original post on the Greater Good site, How to Stop the Racist in You.  Click the link to read the entire piece.

Consider that not one of us is born learning how to drive, and yet by the time many people are adults, we find ourselves not even thinking about it even as we expertly maneuver the car. One day, with practice, egalitarianism might be like driving a car: a skill learned over time but eventually so automatic as to be second nature.

So what are the tricks that you can use to stop the racist in you? There are many, of course, but here are six to consider that follow from the scientific insights we describe.

  1. Consciously commit yourself to egalitarianism.
  2. But recognize that unconscious bias is no more “the real you” than your conscious values. You are both the unconscious and the conscious.
  3. Acknowledge differences, rather than pretend that you are ignoring them.
  4. Seek out friendship with people from different groups, in order to increase your brain’s familiarity with different people and expand your point of view.
  5. It’s natural to focus on how people are different from you, but try to consciously identify what qualities and goals you might have in common.
  6. When you encounter examples of unambiguous bias, speak out against them. Why? Because that helps create and reinforce a standard for yourself and the people around you, in addition to providing some help to those who are the targets of explicit and implicit prejudice.
  7. Those are steps you can take right now, without waiting for the world to change.

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