We are called as people of faith to recognize everyone as a neighbor so we can show them the love of God. But because we “read” others with all kinds of layers and interpretations that culture gives us without us even realizing it.
So how do we begin recognizing these cultural layers and interpretations?
When we hear discussions about racial injustice, many people say that it is systemic. But what does this mean? Basically, this means that racism, racial injustice, and racial stereotypes are built into our culture and the way we “read” each other. Because these things are so embedded in our culture, it’s sometimes difficult to know how these racist ideologies affect us. To resist racism and believing those cultural interpretations, it’s important to recognize how you see people of different races. We must be aware of our own biases.
One way to do this is by taking an implicit association test, which measures bias that is triggered automatically rather than consciously. It’s a quick test that measures how quickly you associate good words/ideas with people of different races. While this test isn’t perfect, it can give you a good idea of your own biases.
Here’s a suggestion of how you can reflect on your biases by using this type of test:
- Take the test: what are the results? What does this show you about how you “read” other races?
- Ask yourself: how does this show how racist ideologies are embedded in my consciousness without being aware? Dig deep here – don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and the way you see people who do not look like you.
- Then, ask: how can I take this awareness of my bias to alter the way I see people of different races? How can this lead to loving my neighbors more fruitfully?
Part of resisting racial injustice is gaining consciousness – the results of this test are not meant to show how racist you are. Rather, they can reveal how the stereotypes embedded in our culture affect the way you see others. We are all called to love our neighbor as ourselves. This requires working for racial injustice and biases to end – we might as well start with ourselves in making these changes.