Are you a racist?
99.9% of people will immediately respond with a resounding NO! But then continue to entertain jokes and conversations that support how “dumb”, “weird”, “talented”, “creative”, “criminal”, or “dishonest” certain race groups are. Consciously we generally work hard to remain unbiased, neutral, and objective, but subconsciously we have been socialized to believe that we are different, not just in appearance, but in habits, attitudes, and behavior. Regarding culture, there is no debate given the thousands of cultures around the world, that we absolutely come from different social norms, practices, traditions, beliefs, and religious perspectives. These stereotypes won’t change because they are based in real experience and that’s what makes this world a wonderful diversity of differences to be understood and appreciated.
What we need to address are the disparaging generalizations we all make from time to time and the implicit bias we often have about people that appear different to us and also recognize the institutionalized biases that have been created. It can be quite liberating to take an honest look at our own automatic assumptions that have been socialized and ingrained over many years. We need only to state that people in the Middle East and people in the USA see themselves as very different and very quickly that conversation can degenerate into how bad or wrong the other is. So, without going down that rabbit hole ourselves, let’s come back to maturely accepting that we see some people differently for whatever reason, but we do, and that socialized perception and stereotype will affect how you behave and communicate with those we perceive as being different.
As an assessment and training company, Wilford Scholes is committed to helping companies and organizations understand those natural biases both positive and negative, so we can be better educated to not only accept, but respect diversity and learn how people with different backgrounds can combine to be more productive than a homogenous group. There are a few short surveys out there currently, but we have focused on creating a comprehensive assessment that will help you address this issue in a positive way empowering all employees, no matter their background, to collectively recognize the strength in engaging diversity.
BY COLIN WILFORD