What You Can Do About Unconscious Race Bias

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Years ago in China, a swarthy American friend of Indo-Guyanese origin invited me to lunch. As

soon as we got into a taxi and the driver started rolling down his window & a little bit of the

front passenger window too, my friend instinctively panicked.  As quickly as he sniffed down

his shirt, he turned to me and asked “I don't smell, do I?” It helped that I knew exactly what

he was going through. After all, I did write about it. Disgusted, I replied: It's not you, man.

Just what China does to people like you and me. Then there's one curious Chinese woman

I wrote about who couldn't wrap both her bemused face & head around the fact that I am

a lawyer. When she first found out she just sat there across the table repeating almost

with a dog's tilted head impression, up to 10 or more times — “You? A Lawyer? You don't

look like a lawyer...” A DJ, foreign English teacher, rapper, etc. were among the limits

the scope of her imagination/unconscious bias placed me.  For those same reasons it,

at some point in my Black experience in China became pointless to say, “American”,

whenever asked. Because not only were you likely to be cordially challenged, even

in the year 2014/2015 that that couldn't be, as America is a land of Caucasians but

even worse, adding insult to injury, you'd either meet or find Caucasians online,

questioning the nationality of some so-called “minority”, usually Black person,

who claimed to be American. A German once proudly told me he had earned

a good living in China telling people he's American. Caucasian with German

accent. Another British Blog follower with more than enough information

to verify my identity once cautiously wrote: “If you are an American as

you claim to be...” From Scotland where I once walked into a coffee

room & caught less qualified fellow trainees red-handed expressing

doubts about my credentials & Americanness (notice the pattern?)

to Caucasians — just as above — condescendingly scoffing at the

expertise of others who'd favorited, liked or supported some

publication of mine dismissing them as “minorities” from a

#ThirdWorld country” regardless of whether those were

Caucasians, the dark vein of implicit & explicit bias and

impact of white supremacy, —with all of its structural

racism persistently indignify the Black & “minority

experience.  Like Yassmin  Abdel-Magied (above),

one could positively impact racial group inequity

by conceding as Les Brown says, “You can't see

the picture when you're in the frame.  Many

good, albeit insular, privileged folks—often

part of the 75%wrongly believe they

are culturally competent. They discuss

and “resolve” meritocracy, race and

career success/opportunity without

a racial diversity reference point.

Yet educated opinions regarding

why visceral suspicion follows

Black folks/“minorities”—in

China, Americas, Europe—

depend on understanding

of Racial Bias. Mentor

& volunteer. Amplify

Black & minorities

co-conspiring for


racial equity.

And why is

that key?


○ ○ ○Cultural Competency Series (X5)(Follow the Dove)


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