Don’t ignore your own bias
We all have hidden, or implicit biases.
It is part of being human. We do not usually know the programming that we get from being socialized in structural hierarchies which have always seemed reiterative. We all learn, in order to go with the flow, that we must accept this is the way things are to a certain degree.
In our social and gender roles, this status quo is often taken for granted.
We still have a long way to go, for example, to truly integrate things like our education system.
But social change is both inevitable and useful.
Justice may wax and wane over time, but eventually, most people want to help support doing the best that we can for the highest number of individuals.
In this regard, blatant racism and sexism can serve as a huge distraction.
When someone says or does something truly sexist, such as assaulting and/or harassing women, we pile on. When it is an elevated personality such as Bill Cosby or an Andrew Tate-type hater, we are rightfully disgusted.
It is the same with blatant racism. In fact, there is plenty of intersectional cross-overs with our unspoken thoughts about people of color and our unspoken thoughts about women (most of which are of color, of course!)
Give respect where it is due
We must contemplate our inner thoughts, not just the worst outer manifestations of the bad guys.
The actions and activism of hateful nationalists, proud boys, oath keepers, and so-called Christian nationalist supremacists who dislike immigrants or people of other faith can be very blatant. But the number of people who secretly hold such attitudes in their hearts and minds is ultimately more dangerous to democracy.
Inwardly, we honor “norms” and “limits” that perhaps we should question. We have to think about which social rules we should respect.
It is more socially acceptable, for example, to say you dislike feminism than it is to say you openly dislike Black people. We know from recent incidents, such as Scott Adams being “canceled,” that although free speech has its uses, it is absolutely not without consequences.
This is as it should be, but it also tells us more about ourselves when we examine why this should be so.
Such consequences move social norms, and they are not always in the right direction. People harbor troubling ideas and give them safe acceptance which means more danger for people overall, over time.
Homophobia is another example where we can see public distaste for the most egregious crimes against LGBTQ+ people, but fail to check our own programmed bias, which culturally, is considerable.
It is true that we have to speak up when outrageous bias rears its ugly and intolerant head. But we have to be even more vigilant against hidden and covert bigotry that is more insidious.
Attacking the bad guys does have some cultural value, and spreads a message, it is hoped, to the most blatant haters. But, it also gives us a scapegoat to unquestioningly move forward thinking none of our daily habits or concepts are in need of reform.
Know thyself, society
We are wise to continually question the status quo.
Perhaps our daily habits and attitudes are in need of reform. We need to think differently not just once in a while, but daily if we can.
We seldom have public lynchings or total blame on rape or coerced victims anymore, but we do have systemic brutality in policing and the justice system, a wealth gap between minorities and the wealthiest among us — including the gender gap, uneven education systems, athletics, and entertainment gaps.
As members of an up-and-coming civilization — if we don’t over-exploit people and the planet before it is too late— we must always stay attuned to knowing ourselves.
The greatest wisdom is to recognize ourselves in our own humanity, and then use that to press further to find union with our planet.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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