Are some people more biased than others or do we just react differently?
How we deal with bias and prejudice within our organisations is an increasing challenge. Are some people more prejudiced that others or is it that some of us show it more than others (better able to control our behaviours)?
Just think for a moment what is the FIRST thought that goes through your mind when you imagine yourself walking along the street and see:
a person asleep in a doorway or …
a person being pushed in a wheelchair or …
a person wearing a veil or …
a person walking with their child in a buggy or …
a young ethnic minority male running down the road carrying a handbag or …
two men walking down the road holding hands ?
What images or pictures do you see?
Whether we like it or not we all say something from time to time which offends – but our communication was not intended to upset. This is called being human and we ALL have our prejudices – it is those that do not recognise that they are prejudice in some way have the problem.
People like people who are like us – we group around like minded people – this is a basic human principle. While at work and in a civilised society we need to conform our behaviour (and rightly so) that does not mean that we are not prejudiced. Just because it is not ‘right’ to have a biased thought does not make a human stop thinking certain factors. For 100s of years our society has been developed on the basis of the haves and the have not’s. This continues today but we no longer call it class or religion. They were for their time a legitimate way of segregating the population. Now it is down to how much you can afford. For example: Private healthcare, private schooling, university. Businesses want staff who are mobile and have cars – but government is taxing motor vehicles more and more.
This is not meant to be a political speech – just the recognition that we all treat people differently and that there are some behaviours that are more acceptable than others.
So back to the point..
So what pictures did you see?
Who was in your imagination?
A man/ woman either drunk or kicked out the house after a row last night?
Or a homeless person?
Did you see the person in the wheel chair with a plaster cast on their leg?
Or A person who was wheelchair bound and ‘helpless’
The bride or belly dancer wearing the veil?
Or A Muslim woman?
Dad or granddad pushing the child in the buggy?
Or Mum pushing her child?
A grandson chasing after his grandmother that had left her handbag?
Or A mugger?
A carer looking after a person with downs syndrome?
Or A homosexual couple
How many of these did you see?
Is it the person that needs to change their behaviour or us in our reaction to sit