Today is the first day of October, which also means it is the first day of Black History Month. A few years ago if I’d been asked when Black History Month was, I’d have had no idea, and I’d have felt awful about that. Now, I know that it’s daft to feel awful for being unaware – me feeling bad won’t help anyone after all. I’m accepting the fact that I am full of unconscious bias of all kinds, and the best way to move forward from that is to make sure that I’m consciously becoming more aware.
One of the triggers for this realisation was taking this test, and secretly hoping (as most people do) that it would tell me I am perfectly balanced and not at all racist.
It did not.
For the record, it didn’t tell me that I’m super-mega-racist. Just that I have a minor bias. And while that’s obviously not great, it’s also the truth, so rather than bluntly insisting that I’m not racist, I’ve realised it’s time to get to grips with where my bias lies, and make sure I’m better educated. It’s not limited to race either – I know I need to learn more about all kinds of things which I’ve previously not seen, because I’ve not had to.
The fact is, it would be really easy to decide that the test was wrong, to insist that I’m a progressive and tolerant person with a broad worldview and lots of diverse experience. As far as I can tell though, that might be a big part of the problem. You can’t just deny an unconscious part of yourself, all you can do is try to consciously change it. I probably (definitely) have a long way to go in terms of adjusting my viewpoint, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.