What do we do when our brain automatically associates? In order to be a true activist, advocate and/or ally, who promotes equality and an end to racial profiling…I realized that the change actually starts within.
Being black and understanding what it means to be black is two different things! I began to understand what it means to me to be a black woman a few years ago by doing my own reading, researching, embracing my natural hair and indulging in thoughtful conversations about race, with anyone who was willing or even unwilling to engage!
A few years ago, I came across a video that talked about the ability to overcome our biases towards Black people. From the video, I began to consider a few things. (1) We are often unaware of our biases and they typically become our everyday perceptions. The way we act and feel towards a certain thing or group of people becomes controlled by that unconscious bias. (2) We can reform the image of black men by reversing the way in which we view them through images, and associating them with strong and powerful black men, like the ones you’ll see below. The concept may sound simple for some or nuanced for others, but the headline is that Black people are wrongfully dying simply because of how others associate them . Here is the link of the video, in which I HIGHLY recommend! https://www.ted.com/talks/verna_myers_how_to_overcome_our_biases_walk_boldly_toward_them#t-2401.
(…the beautiful thing is that there are so many amazing black men I could have posted, these a very small few!)
….I am also aware that……
Being a black woman and a black man, is two different things. I got my real dose of this reality after the maybe the 6th time my black boyfriend came home and told me he was pulled over by a cop for no reason. The first few times he came home to tell me he was pulled over, I would always ask him “Well, what for?”, “Were you speeding”, “No seat belt?”, “brake light out?”….and the answer was always…no. It took the 7th time for me to realize how unfair this was. The look on my boyfriends face told me that he had become so desensitized by the system that he was just grateful to walk away with his life, and was no longer upset about being wrongfully pulled over in the first place. There were many times my boyfriend would notice woman crossing the street when they seen him coming. I thought, if only these women knew how sweet and loving he is, and how much he WOULDN’T hurt them. But then I wondered, if I didn’t know him….would my brain automatically cause me to do the same as these other people.
A year ago, I took an Implicit Bias test which essentially is meant to help someone find their implicit associations about race, gender, sexual orientation and more. I would highly recommend that you take this test to hopefully learn something about your biases. To take the test on implicit associations regarding race, simply click on this link >>>> site https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html, and click on the race test. My results suggested that I have a slight automatic preference for Black people over White people. Some may find the test to be questionable, but I say still give it a shot! If you’re comfortable, please share your findings with me in the comments below!
The questions to think about are…. 1.) How aware are we of the automatic associations our brains make about Blacks? 2.) How aware are we of how these associations impact the daily lives of Blacks? 3.) How willing are we to challenge ourselves and others, in order to work towards decriminalizing blacks?