Monday, September 10, 2007

Bias bites back!

The other night my mother was related a story about a gal in her office who had recently found her dream house. The woman is black.

The woman told my mother that she and her family loved the house,but were concerned that
there were so many Mexicans
in the neigborhood. My mother was shocked that a black person could be biased. She thought bigotry and racism were the purvey of Caucasians.

Of course, we know intellectually that everyone, everywhere has biases, but sometimes it seems that it is only white people who are biased (nothing like a little supremacy complex). That is simply not true-we just don't hear about it or think about it.

There seems to be a racial hierarchy with whites a the top of the pyramid. Second in line seem to Asians (after all they are all bright and hard-working). Black and Hispanic people pull in behind Asians. Given the demographic coming attractions where white population decreases rapidly against the rise in non-white populations, this seems to be incredibly stupid.

My child is a child of color. Some people will actually say (or intimate) that 'at least she isn't black'. When I pick myself up off of the floor, I still have to bite my tongue, but what the heck is that all about?

If adults are surprised that all people are biased and if we are using a racial 'rating system' to determine one's status in society then you can be sure that kids are getting that message loud and clear.

So ask yourself if you have any hierarchical racial system that you are unconsciously transferring to your children. You might want to consider putting a stop to that. You aren't doing your kids any favors. Kids need to be cognizant that everyone deserves to be judged based on his or her strengths and weakness, not by any antiquated and biased points of view that seep out of the most well-meaning parents.

Unfortunately, racism, like poverty, violence and other societal ills truly cuts across all boundaries. It does seem sad that some of the things that we all share are so negative, while the positive things take a back seat. Today's challenge is to become aware of how we 'rate' people and start to look at how we can keep it to ourselves.

Like any issue, recognition that there is an issue is the first step!

With respect,

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