Why write about unconscious biases?

Most people living in this day and age experience bias-based behavior. Whether you are the one acting on it, or the one at the receiving end, we all know it. We also know the struggle that comes with it and the counter-reactions and protests that are found. You may still wonder what issues I’m talking about. Well, I’m talking about discrimination based on gender, race, appearance, sexual preferences, validity, ethnicity, age and so on. I, for one, have experienced it as well but am also aware of the fact that I’m not without sin and that it’s therefore not my place to cast a stone.

unconscious bias

When I took a look at the Cambridge Dictionary I learned that a bias is described as ‘’a situation in which you support or oppose someone or something in an unfair way because you are influenced by your personal opinions.’’ And since a lot of these opinions are shaped unconsciously, I’ll speak of unconscious biases. But as you can see, this kind of prejudice might work in one’s advantage, but most of the times (just about always) they’re not. One is being judged unfairly and is not given the opportunity to show her or his real identity, caused by a mind game we’re not (yet) aware of.

Not being given the opportunity to show the world who you really are can be quite frustrating. I sadly know this from my own experience. Being a free soul traveling and staying in countries which are enormously influenced by their past, this same soul felt restricted. Limited to being a certain kind of person that would be accepted in their society because the otherwise negative responses would spoil the experience of actually being there. And even though I have yet to gain a whole lot more life experience, I have been in certain – slightly painful – situations in which I have received some negativity. To give you an example: I apparently am rich because I’m white, my words are all potentially racist because I’m white, I shouldn’t be a feminist because women are already treated ‘’equally’’, I cannot dance because I’m Dutch – and again, white – and I would always be the one to fall in love first – because I’m a girl. I’ll leave it up to you whether you believe these things to be true or not, hoping it to be self-evident that describing this is not meant as casting a stone.

With writing this blog I aim to create awareness about different situations of implicit prejudice, to help solve issues that we created in our own mind and  to work on finding a more positive outlook on the people around us. And I know that people will think that I’d never truly understand because I haven’t been through the same struggle, but I’m asking you to understand that I’m working with a willing mind and heart. Also will I be working with the knowledge of the people around me who have stories worth sharing. Ending with a quotation from the Bible, often used by my grandma and mother – ‘’Let your gentleness be evident to all’’ (Philippians 4:4).