Is it Racism or discrimination? Is it behavior or looks? Bozoma Saint John raises many questions with her statement – ‘Every time I board [business class], it’s like, “Oh, are you sitting in the right seat?” I make sure to keep my boarding pass out just in case somebody has a question’.
Knowing stereotypes and prejudices, leading to these assumptions and questions, exist in the 21st century is simply shocking. Why do we allow them to persist and can we prevent or destroy them?
Why do we allow them to persist?
When I hear stories, such as Bozomas` I start to question myself. I ask myself if I have ever judged someone because of some kind of stereotype. Even though I know I would never treat a person differently because of ethnicity or looks – have I ever unknowingly judged a person?The fact is that unconscious bias is everywhere and mostly invisible in today’s society – especially to those who inflict it. These acts are mostly unintentional, but happen so frequently, that it can make people – such as Bozoma Saint John travelling business class – uncomfortable.
Since these biases appear to be occurring unknowingly, it raises the question if stereotypes and prejudices could ever cease to exist.
Can we prevent or destroy these unconscious biases?
We have been living in a society with visible and invisible discrimination for years and this will not change overnight – but we have to start somewhere.
Start by questioning yourself, questioning your acts and thoughts. Try to identify the bias and be open to change it. Don’t deny a possible unconscious bias – identifying it can be the first step towards destroying them.
We need to identify the issue in order to undo the bias and build an inclusive society, in which stereotypes and prejudices no longer exist.