Wanna know whats annoying? People who judge others based on how they look.
Have you ever heard someone say “I thought you looked like a ______ When I first met you.” The blank indicating a distinct declaration of disapproval.
According to a quiz I took online, I associate men with careers and women with family. But the quiz wasn’t just some BuzzFeed time killer. It was the Gender-Career Implicit Bias Test, a quiz designed by Harvard researchers to test thought processes.
“Stereotype” is a cognitive shortcut – it allows your brain to make a snap judgment based on immediately visible characteristics such as gender, race, or age. Your brain is hardwired to make split decisions, and that’s okay. The problem begins when we start applying those stereotypes beyond that immediate impulse. That’s called “bias,” which is basically a belief that a stereotype is true.
It’s alright, I know what some of you are probably thinking.
“Well stereotypes exist for a reason, If it looks like a donkey and kicks like a donkey -then it’s a donkey.” If you think this, then I’m talking to you.
Understandably that logic is sometimes right, but not always.
Have you ever heard the expression “Just because there’s one bad apple, doesn’t mean they’re all bad.”
Have you ever gone to the super market and ruffled through piles of avocados or onions? You probably aren’t gonna choose the rotten ones but you keep looking through the pile anyways, right?
So are people really any different? There’s a few rotten ones in every race or social class – but then to group them all together and compare them as a whole based on one similar characteristic? So are ALL the Avocados and onions bad because they’re perishable?
Of course not. We all know looks can be deceiving.
The sad thing is, most of us know and understand this logic – but don’t actually imply it to our daily lives. We think our situation is different because of what we’ve personally experienced. Maybe, you saw a big burly white man with tattoos beat someone up. So, as a result you don’t trust people with tattoos anymore. Maybe in your mind it signifies violence, or it’s against your religion anyways, so they must be a bad apple. Right?
OF. COURSE. NOT.
That’s like saying ALL white people come from privileged backgrounds or All African Americans are agressive. It’s obviously not true, so why do people still insist on this closed-minded way of thinking?
Well to be honest, most of us are products of our own environments. If you were raised in a racist household – then there’s a very good chance you too may become racist. However; that’s not to say that you aren’t independent and able to come up with your own conclusions. It’s just that you were raised to think a certain way based on your parents cultural upbringing – but then whatever you do after you turn of age, is on you. You may see nothing wrong with stereotyping, but what happens when someone tells your daughter that she’s too weak to play certain sports, or your son that he’s not smart enough to go to college?.. Because this happens ALL the time.
Stereotypes and biases serve to unfairly and sometimes unintentionally keep qualified, capable people out of jobs or positions of power or growth. Men are usually the bosses, while women are viewed as bossy. Or just not up to the challenge. Or too busy taking care of the kids and wouldn’t want the additional responsibility anyway.
After my less-than-stellar result on the Implicit Bias Test, I decided to put a different perspective into play. First, I stewed on my result for a few days. I thought about what kind of messages I had been unconsciously accepting and how I could recognize and confront them. I prepared myself by thinking of how important working is to me and about all the other women colleagues and the positive associations I have toward them. I thought about negative reactions that I’d automatically had toward people, and whether or not those reactions were based on fact or bias – then I retook the test.
“Your data suggest a moderate association of female with career and male with family compared to male with career and female with family.”
Perhaps an over-correction, but this new result was proof that our attitudes are malleable, if we care enough to change them ourselves.
Click here to begin ——-> Implicit Bias Test