“Racism.” Words matter more than ever before. Listening may be the #1 most important communication skill. But it’s not enough.
Recently I’ve had a few intense conversations (as I’m sure we all have!) about current events including systemic discrimination, police brutality, #blacklivesmatter, protesting and looting.
Are you with me? Read on to learn:
- important definitions
- your primer on implicit bias
- other taboo topics
Let’s do this!
IMPORTANT TERMS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- “A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” – Merriam Webster
- Merriam Webster is changing this definition, after it received an email from a recent law, politics & society graduate, saying the definition should also include “systemic oppression.” (Yes, WORDS MATTER!)
(image: unsplash @ visuals)
- The term “systemic” precedes terms such as “racism,” “oppression,” and “discrimination” to categorize the attitudes and/or behaviours as embedded, system-wide or common to a group.
- Ice-cream purveyor Ben & Jerry’s stand on systemic racism and white supremacy has been lauded by some as extraordinary
BLACK LIVES MATTER
- #blacklivesmatter and #BLM are the hashtags that people have used on social media posts posts since the 2013 acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s 2012 murderer.
- “Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” – see https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/
- Since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis on May 22, 2020, Black Lives Matter has become “the biggest story in the country.“
PREJUDICE vs. DISCRIMINATION
- Prejudice is an attitude. It can be acted on or not.
- Discrimination is a behaviour.
- Both are usually negative, directed toward a person or a group based on race, religion, sex, social class, etc. Read more here.
WHAT IS IMPLICIT BIAS?
On the news recently I heard the RCMP Commissioner answer some challenging Qs about police brutality and systemic racism. She was careful about her words and talked about unconscious bias.
I learned about unconscious or implicit bias in my psychology classes years ago. Now I’m hearing and reading the term daily!
An implicit bias is exactly what it sounds like; a non-conscious attribution of particular qualities to members of a group.
- The group could be categorized in terms of a variety of factors such as age, sexuality, religion, weight, or yes – race.
- The attribution is usually learned (base on experience, upbringing, or cultural norms) as opposed to innate.
- The opposite of implicit bias is “explicit stereotype.”
(image: unsplash @ dargonesti)
ARE YOU CURIOUS
about your own implicit biases?
PROJECT IMPLICIT is an online research study hosted by Harvard University to aggregate data on implicit attitudes. You can test your implicit biases on a variety of topics (health, gender, social attitudes including race) by taking the test here.
Can you guess the topic of the Talk About Talk post that has the most “organic clicks”? It’s the “Talking Taboos” blog post! Interesting, right?!?
Racism has long been considered a taboo topic (see e.g. here and here). But recently, racism has quickly evolved from taboo to something we need to proactively talk about (see here and here).
Looking through the Talk About Talk archive, we’ve covered many important, taboo topics that we need to talk openly about. It certainly helped me in all of these cases to talk to an expert: youth mental health; money; profanity; talking to your doctor; and death and grieving.
➡️ YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH
with Nicole German, founder of the Maddie Project
PODCAST | BLOG
➡️ SUPPORTING OUR GRIEVING FRIENDS
with psychotherapist & grief counsellor Andrea Warnick
LET’S KEEP TALKING ABOUT RACISM!
I would love to interview an expert on “talking racism” for a future Talk About Talk podcast episode! Until then, I’ll be reading, thinking, writing and TALKING and about systemic racism.
As always, welcome your suggestions, feedback and comments anytime. I love hearing from you! Please email me or connect with our community on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter.
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach
P.S. – I know something that will decrease your stress. Please try this FREE online course: “5 Quick Email Hacks to take control of your Inbox.” I personally guarantee it works! (That’s why I created it!)
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