Writing Up Old Ideas X: Adjusting For My Biases
One of the first steps towards allyship is to recognise that I am a significant part of the problem, and it’s a step I hope I’ve taken. I have significant biases against anyone who isn’t straight, white, thin and male, and even if I tell myself that they’re “only implicit” or that “they’re a result of my environment and not a reflection on my character”, I have an obligation to work to rid myself of them, which is the next step I’m now trying to take. It’s something that I don’t feel like I’m doing an especially good job of, and that I ought to be more proactive about, so perhaps this post can help in holding me accountable.
Attempting to adjust for my biases requires re-examining every single interaction I have with another person, and consciously evaluating whether I would speak, act or feel differently were the person or people involved of a different race, gender or sexuality. It might sound like that’s a lot of work, but once I started doing it and realised how often the answer is “yes”, it became a lot easier to be attentive to its necessity. It’s not just treating everybody exactly the same, regardless of their demographic either; for instance its important to be cognizant of a female colleague at work being more likely to be spoken over or undervalued by our males peers, and so when necessary speaking up for her more readily than a man. These however are the kinds of differences I have historically been very ignorant of, and I’m acutely aware that there are many similar ones where I still am ignorant; so I have to educate myself. Being mindful of how my interactions are in the moment is a start, but only a small one, and it’s this self-education that I’m hopefully will allow me to further mitigate my biases and be a better ally.