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We've All Got To Admit Our Prejudices To Overcome Them

24/03/2017 16:53 GMT | Updated 24/03/2017 16:54 GMT
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Now more than ever, people are aware of the damage prejudice can do as the world continues to reel and recoil against the rise of Trump and Brexit.

 

But on top of the most blatant prejudices such as racism, sexism and homophobia, more and more people are understanding about the dangers of unconscious bias and the insidious damage it does.

 

Everyone has some form of conscious or unconscious bias towards people different to themselves - whether you like to admit it or not.

 

Biologically it's impossible not to - the nature side of things -  and that's before you even get to the 'nuture' part.

 

Your ethnic background, how you were brought up, your personal experiences and your place in society all combine to impact the decisions and actions you make on a daily basis without you even realising.

 

We all make instant judgments about people whether they are warranted or not, based on whether someone is from a different culture, generation, gender or even down to whether someone is good looking or not.

 

We gravitate towards people who look like us, think like us and behave like us. We create our own private echo chambers and filter bubbles constantly without even needing the internet to do it for us. 

 

It happens. It's true for us ALL. 

 

It can mean that men in the workplace get picked over equally qualified female candidates, and get higher salaries to boot. (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/26/uk-secret-sexist-test_n_5035512.html)

 

Listening to a lot of brilliant women talk about gender bias, you do think that most men are too scared by the whole thing or to even comment, let alone admit to and challenge their biases. (https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/sep/02/unconscious-bias-most-women-believe-sexism-still-exists-but-most-men-disagree)

 

Bias and prejudices may be difficult to confess to and talk about, but there are many good reasons why you should confront them, however painful.

 

Look at what happens in Britain when ordinary people feel they can't talk about their fear of immigration - or that even if they do, they won't be listened to or helped to understand how to change their feelings.

 

What if we all owned to up to being prejudiced? 

 

Then we could open up the debate amongst everyone - and bring about real change in our every day lives, and in society as whole.

 

After all, a lack of diversity and constant discrimination makes our society weaker. Confronting and addressing our prejudices and unconscious bias would make us richer as people - less quick to judge, more ready to embrace and understand others.

 

That would lead to more diversity which in turn would mean more creativity and would give more and more people a voice to help create and shape a more equal society.

 

We need to stop hiding and pretending. We all need to 'fess up and we all get over our prejudices together rather than brandishing pitchforks.

 

After all, we know that the latter is more dangerous.

 

For the human race to develop and prosper, we need to ditch discrimination, prejudice and unconscious biases for good and the first step is to start talking about them - NOW.