Change your mind around racism
This is my dad holding his last two grandchildren. When Laila became our daughter he was so thrilled to have some “color” added to our family tree.
Dad grew up in segregated America; he served a Southern-states mission for our church in the 1950s and served in the Korean War stationed in Georgia. For a farmer from Fairview, Idaho it was a lot. Racism was the air he breathed. Dad wasn’t always so open, kind and inclusive as he became later in life. Like all of us he had implicit racial biases that he needed to confront. We all have an implicit bias that some people are better than other people. We can be taught at home that all are equal but this is only one input. We also get messages from friends, church, movies, tv shows, social media, and school of what to think.
These thoughts exist in the subconscious brain. As we go through life we develop opinions and prejudices.
We take in stimulus and then the lower brain sends a thought up to our higher brain. Then we can decide whether to keep that thought. So....how did my dad change? How do we change? 1. Become aware of one of your thoughts. Examine your belief. Don’t hold on to it too tightly.
2. Recognize it’s just a thought and instead of believing that it’s automatically TRUE ask yourself, “What if I’m wrong about that?” Explore and question your thoughts.
3. Stop feeling guilt and shame around your thoughts. As soon as you judge the thought you won’t want to really look at it. It will stay hidden.
My dad worked on showing up as the best father and grandfather he could be. This meant taking the time to look at the thoughts he was thinking and the words he was speaking.
It didn’t happen over night and as his daughter, I could see and hear the change in him from his 40-year-old self to his 60 and then 80-year-old self.
He changed his mind about what he had learned around race and his biases.
You CAN change your mind.
Racism is still here. My LIFE is not made harder because of the color of my skin. My black friend Kellon’s is. My brown daughter Laila runs into it at work on the daily.