5 Steps to be Aware of Unconscious Prejudices and Overcome Those
All of you know, If we see someone with slanting eyes, here in Turkey, we immediately think that he/she is Japan. You probably hear “They all resemble one another, it is impossible to distinguish. Children even joke about Japanese / Chinese children by shrinking their eyes.
Last week we were having meal with our friends. We started to talk about traveling and cultural differences. Anyway, my friend went to the Far East with his family. She started to tell a story about their holiday. On holiday, the Chinese children, in front of her Turkish child, pull their eyes from top to bottom to make them bigger and made fun of her child. Now what can you say? Everybody perception of normal and different changes according to geography .
Another friend of mine who is a captain stayed in Malaysia for 15 days, Malaysian colleagues of his , was always getting confused and “You Turks are all you look alike.” Said to him. As you can see, exaggerated beliefs and generalities exist in every society.
What do implicit prejudices mean? Implicit prejudice is a tendency and preferences that we are not aware of, which affects our ideology, our fair, objective and objective behaviour. It is our beliefs that are shaped mainly in childhood and cause us to perceive with the values and judgments of the community we are live in. Our social environment, our sex, our culture, our religious identity, our religious preferences all influence how we see, hear, and understand the world. They keep us from knowing sensation and reaction of other groups. In other words, we look at the world from a single camera with implicit prejudices.
Human beings live in community, perceives the world with general categories. These categories made us simplify and organize the world. On the other hand, humanbeings perceived not only their own group but also those who were not of the same group with the same categorization. Stereotypes and prejudices arise from the ‘in-group / out-group’ dynamics. Why has awareness and behavior change about prejudices and stereotypes become so important?
Because there globalization. Now, as a global village, there are different communities and people from different ethnicity, race and sexual orientation groups live in this global village. It is not possible to live and work as an alien . We need to realize our prejudices and change our behaviors to do business and for a more peaceful social life. Now, in the global world, it is necessary to recognize individual differences and values, rather than communities, as an individual, rather than a community member.
The implicit prejudice concept was included to terminology of diversity management a few years ago. According to estimatations , education and development programs for this concept are expected to increase demand by 50% over the next few years. Anthony Greenwald, Mahsarin Banaji, and Brian Nosek, researchers in the field of social psychology, published an article in 1998 that put forward the concept of uncontrolled or implicit prejudice for the first time. The research showed that memories we are not aware of , affect our behaviors, movements, and decisions
They developed a test for research. (Implicit Association Test).This test measured how prejudices we were not aware of existed with automatic, sincere power. With this computer-based test, people who are solving the test against time categorize the concepts into male or female behaviors according to their own logic. The faster you do the test, the more prejudices you have about concepts. Using the IAT test, they tried to uncover stereotypes and prejudices that we were not aware of. (only a few of our prejudices that we can name nationality, age, obesity, self-confidence, race, sex)
Anyone who has introduced the concept of implicit prejudice must think that we all have these judgments. In fact, implicit biases do not make us bad, racist, discriminatory. Our experience in the past affects our perceptions, behaviors, and reactions buried consciously or unconsciously in the depths of our minds.What is important is to realize how this behavior and the judgments affect the other groups.
The most important point in the concept of implicit prejudice is that most of our behaviors are the effects of our beliefs and values that are buried deep in which we are not aware.
I would like to list five important conditions for managing and overcoming individual bias
- Desire: The person must first have a desire to confront and reveal implicit prejudices. Many people are not willing to try to pass through such a process.
- Acceptance: We should be ready to accept the results and feedback of the awareness-raising reports of our prejudices through tools such as tests and should not go to defense.
- Commitment: To be aware of all hidden prejudices, these prejudices require time and energy to understand how you build and keep.A few hours of training will be the first step in this journey. Education only recognizes prejudices and provides you with confrontation. Transforming them is the process that starts after the training.
- Internal Observation: By turning to your past, you should operate the awareness process by observing the events and teachings that caused your prejudices in your past.This is a very difficult process. Some reminders can be painful and compelling. Perhaps during your childhood, racial nicknames may routinely be used at home when you show love, and you may not have been aware that this process has grown to an implicit prejudice so far.
- Discovery: Often, our prejudices depend on our stereotypes against the group we know little. It is important to know more about the group, to know and experience is important to build beliefs against prejudice.
If I do not know my prejudices, how can I fight it? There are 5 ways to reveal prejudices that you are unaware of;
- First, accept the presence of your prejudices. We all have prejudices.
- Take some time to get to know yourself. Do you have behavior that will reveal your implicit prejudices about certain social groups? Do you always tend to hire people of the same type? Is your friend network quite homogeneous? It’s made up of the people with same educational level, with the same age and so on. Ethnic, racial, religious, gender, sex preference, etc. do you prefer not to talk about the differences in this topics? Do you laugh to the jokes about other social groups?
- Now sit down and make a list of the different social groups that differ from you and your group. We have a more positive attitude towards human communities, which we generally belong to, compared to the communities we do not know. Do a simple exercise. Write adjectives describing the group you think you are at work or at school, or in an association, and write adjectives describing your views about a community and group you are not in. Which adjectives were more positive? In fact, it represents the foundations of the “In-group / Out-of-group” theory.
- Do you communicate with this group/s?
- Do you have a deep knowledge of these group/s? Or did you make a list based on your overall impressions.
- What adjectives did you use to?
- Ask a friend that you trust how s/he perceive you. It is often difficult to get clear and honest feedback from close friends, family members or colleagues. Underline what you really want to know and that it is important to you.
-Do your friends have any examples of memories and behaviors when they think they are prejudiced to a group or community without being aware of it?
- Question your worldview …Do you always focus on absolute preferences … right or wrong .. good or bad ..Or do you think in evaluative language?
Do you see that the thing that is not right for you can be right for others?
Do you quickly make a judgment in the case you are a witness or will you be more cautious until further information is received? When you see different behaviors, do you think it is in the direction of your own cultural values or would you be willing to act neutral and wait for more information?
‘If I do not know, it does not exist.’ The point of view is no longer valid for your prejudices ..
We now know that we all have prejudices.
You can start by striving for a more efficient and harmonious business world, individual peace, and a world that embraces everything, with commitment .