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I Am a Text-Book Case of Implicit Bias, Hidden Even from Myself

Cindy Brown

Posted on June 14, 2020 17:49

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I've been schooled by a Leonard Pitts column.

I've been schooled by a Leonard Pitts column, and it made me cry. I'm guilty! The highly esteemed nationally syndicated columnist continues to be a favorite, even though we often hold differing political views. This post-middle-aged white woman has always taken pride in her open and affirming values. I'm sure I have often said, "I am not a racist."

Or am I? How can I not be?

Raised in a white, small town in the '70s, I had no exposure to black people until college. Thinking back, they were my friends. Oh, no, not really, but we were always really nice to each other in classes, dining halls, and the dorms.

I shared a house for a few months with my husband's black co-worker, so I am not racist. He was my friend. Really? Was he? I haven't spoken to him since I moved out 35 years ago.

I now live in a predominantly white, comfortable suburb. I go to an open and affirming church, yet predominantly white. I engage in my volunteer activities with many people, mostly white.

I am a text-book case of implicit bias, hidden even from myself. My intentions have always been good, but Mr. Pitts reminds us, that is not enough. He writes of our need to "be the racist in remission who knows good intentions are not enough, that he may commit not simply to being nonracist, but to be actively anti-racist."

As I lamented to a close friend today, we did pat ourselves on the back a little in that our young adult children are ages ahead of us. They live, sleep, work, and are actually close friends with many black people as well as people of all races, gender identities, and religions. We did something right.

But moving forward in my recovery, the first step, "I'm Cindy, and I'm a Racist."
Thank you Mr. Pitts.

Cindy Brown

Posted on June 14, 2020 17:49

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