In her TED Talk, Vernā Myers challenges viewers to overcome their biases by walking toward them. But what does this look like? Myers suggests three ways to begin this process.
- Get out of denial – In our society, it is easy to pretend to be “colorblind.” But not recognizing the biases that have been ingrained within us does little to help fight racial injustice. As Myers claims, the need real people who recognize when they lean on their own biases. Work to understand how you associate people of color with certain actions or personalities. Once you have this awareness, you can begin to dissociate these stereotypes.
- Move toward people of color – Myer reminds us that “biases are the stories we make up about people before we know who they actually are. But how are we going to know who they are when we’ve been told to avoid and be afraid of them?” So, instead of standing apart from groups that you may or may not stereotype, build friendships with people that go against the stereotypes. She says that these relationships aren’t about perfection, but about connection. Move away from your comfort zone and build relationships with people who are different from you.
- Don’t be afraid to challenge others’ biases – When we see or hear something that is racist or unfairly stereotypes another group, we must have the courage to say something (even with the people we love). Good people say and do things that are wrong – we need to be able to say something because we never know who is going to be around us. Racism is taught, so don’t allow someone to teach someone else (especially children) their biases without challenging them.
Racism is not a thing of the past. We need to recognize our own biases toward other groups of people so that our desire for superiority does not just persist and embed itself further in our institutions, society, and generations.
Recognize your biases, walk toward them, make change.