The Journey To Unconscious Bias
Carey Mason, certified Diversity Specialist and TAB Business Coach, recently took our team through a diversity training. As much as we try to be culturally sensitive and aware of how each of our differences make us special or unique, there is always room to learn more. Especially when we consider there is an unconscious and thus unintentional element influencing our thoughts and actions.
During this training, Carey elaborated on the definition of terms like diversity, equity, inclusion and unconscious bias. These are terms that clarify how we can be more accepting of our peers. Through our interactions with others, it can almost become routine to try and avoid certain assumptions about gender, sexuality, or cultural differences. However simple judgements like assuming when someone refers to their spouse as their “partner or significant other” implies they are in a same-sex relationship is an example of an unconscious bias. The same goes for assuming that a person of color must have gotten a scholarship to play on a sports team to be able to attend certain prestigious schools. The human mind is complex and constantly evolving. Being aware that unconscious biases exist is the first step in allowing us to help remedy the situation. Biases will always exist, but we have the power to try and do our respective parts by listening to each other and being open to seeing the world through a different perspective. As a Swahili proverb says, “unity is strength, division is weakness”.