STORY LESSON

Admitting His Racial Bias Was the First Step Towards His Understanding

Marcus Aurelius Higgs

The English Confidence Coach, English All Together

I’m a bias person and you know what? So are you.

We all have a bias. Good or bad, we all have one. It comes from your unique perspective of life. No one has lived life the same way you have.

Unfortunately, we often try to hide our bias because we are afraid of how the rest of the world will judge us.

However, we can positively change ourselves and the world if we practice curiosity. Have an open mind and the idea that ‘maybe…my bias could be wrong’.

But to get to that point, you have to first acknowledge that you have a bias.

Check out this unexpected interaction when a caller on a radio show acknowledged his feelings about race and was open to learning.

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Vocabulary
  • came up with – to think of something; usually an answer or solution
  • to come at (someone’s) expense – paid for by someone
  • get over (something) – to stop feeling unhappy about something
  • ‘Don’t let it go by’ – (here in this phrase, it means) pass without giving it attention
  • immigrants – a person who comes to a country to live there
  • prejudices – a feeling of like or dislike for someone/something; especially when it is not reasonable or logical
  • productive – doing something and getting good results
  • off the top of my head – without preparation; impromptu
  • responding – to do something as a reaction to something that was done before
  • integrate – to combine two or more things; usually to make them unified
  • foster – to help something grow or develop
  • folks – people. very informal and casual
  • unjustified – not right; not fair
  • empathy – the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions
  • furthered – (here, it means) to continue doing something
  • insecurities – not confident about your abilities; being nervous or uncomfortable
  • a zero sum game – a game where if someone wins, another person loses. there is no win-win situation.
Close Vocabulary

Transcript:

– [Garry] I’m a white male and I am prejudiced.

The reason it is, it’s something that wasn’t taught, but it’s kind of something that I learned.

What can I do to change? You know? To be a better American?

– [Heather] I responded off the top of my head, but from my heart, and I told him, “Thank you,” and I just came up with some thoughts about how integrate his life and learn to have more empathy and compassion with people of color.

Your ability to just say, “This is what I have. I have these fears and prejudices and I want to get over them,” is one of the most powerful things that we can do.

So what can you do?

– Get to know black families.

– Join a church, if you are a religious person, that is a black church or a church that is interracial.

Foster conversation in your family and in your neighborhood where you’re asking exactly those kinds of questions.

I think a lot of white folks wanted to hear that they could make that kind of admission and not be greeted with the anger that they fear, but rather understanding and a productive way forward.

I went down to North Carolina and I met with Garry, and we furthered that conversation about race and asked each other hard questions and it was amazing.

– I said, “This is somebody I could talk to again,” and here we are, we’re talking again.

When you get to know people usually your fears were unjustified. Don’t let it go by.

If you got 8 million people responding positively to my insecurities, they must be having the same things.

It’s just something that is…we don’t practice, and taking that first step is the hardest thing.

– It’s time for us to actually have a conversation with white folks, and it’s time for white folks to have a conversation with each other about how it doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.

Just because people of color might be advancing, just because there are more immigrants from different countries in our society, it doesn’t mean that it has to come at your expense.

There’s just not enough of those conversations.

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“When you get to know people usually, your fears were unjustified. Don’t let that go by…

It’s just something we don’t practice, and taking that first step is the hardest thing.”

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