Recognizing Our Implicit Bias & Thoughts on a Recent Diversity Conference

-This blog is unfinished and will be continued later

I had never taken the implicit bias Harvard test before, but today, I had taken it for the first time, and I was surprised at the level, not the result of my implicit bias.

I, an African American Black woman, have, according to this online test, an implicit bias, a moderate automatic preference for Euro-Americans.

I knew that I had a slight implicit bias for Euro-Americans, but I didn’t think it was at the level of moderate.

This upset me very much because I would like to think that I don’t think white people are inherently “good, innocent and superior” people, but the test is not testing for that. The test is testing how quickly one can categorize White with good or bad and Black with good or bad, through gray images and questions.

This is just a test, and it’s just one type of test. It doesn’t have to mean it’s absolute truth or the be all and end all of my implicit bias.

I have three reasons why I may show a preference towards White people apart from the prejudice of who is “good or bad.” Firstly, I am part of the LGBT community. I am a bisexual woman. When it comes to identity, I identify as a bisexual over my Womanhood and my Blackness. I personally feel that identity affects my soul, spirit, emotional and mental state more than my Womanhood or my Blackness.

It’s more so due to the guilt of feeling like a liar every time I am in an unwelcoming space where I feel uncomfortable to reveal it. This is not to say that all White people are LGBT inclusive and accepting, but culturally, Whites have shown more acceptance of LGBT people than Blacks have. This is an opinion and is not based in any statistical fact, it has just been my personal experience.

Secondly I am a woman, a Black woman, and being a Black woman does not save me from mysogynoir (misogyny within the Black community) or sexism. That being said, if my Womanhood is threatened by any sexist, mysogynist Black men, then my Blackness becomes irrelevant, and my Womanhood becomes a threat and a target.

Once again, this does not exclude the fact that White men can be sexist and mysogynistic, with an added factor of racism and or fetishization towards Black Women.

But what I will say is, it’s hard to see my Black identity over my Female identity when my Black idenitity does not save me from my Womanhood.

Thirdly, Rejection from my own people hurts a lot more than rejection from a White person. A White person is seen as an outsider to the minority community, therefore, my expectations for acceptance from White people is very small. I rarely expect it, I’m usually surprised when it’s given, but when a fellow Black person rejects me, tells me how not Black I am for X amount of reasons, that really hurts, because I am being rejected by “my own tribe.”

So to wrap that all up, I feel that in White spaces more than not I’ll be accepted for all of me as far as including my sexual orientation and not just half of me. I don’t feel that I have to hide that part of me as often.

I also feel that in White spaces, I won’t have to deal with the infamous Black man vs. Black woman battles and bashing, because even if I encounter a White sexist racist, I can write them off as an ignorant outsider. Having that come from within the community creates a deeper wound.

Former oppressors knew that and that’s why overseers were used. It hurts more to have your own tribe betray you. Enemies and outsiders are expected to hurt you, but coming from your own it’s a deep betrayal of trust and loyalty.

As far as believing or associating goodness with Whiteness I guess I didn’t realize how deeply set that was within me. Within a Christian construct, it has been pointed out the problem of biblical language and the association of darkness with evil and blackness, as well as the association with whiteness and goodness and purity.

It has also been pointed out some of the problematic lyrics sung in songs like, “Jesus washed me white as snow.” To a Black person, that can have a very different meaning, such as being so Black and dirty that Jesus had to wash that dirty black sin off of you and made you “good and pure” by making you white.

Obviously this is radicalizing a statement, but it is understandable how our radicalized culture can easily create that kind of toxic association with words and concepts.

Perhaps it is a spiritual darkness and a spiritual light that is being talked about or rather the simple being of literal darkness, not the actual color black or the color of brown skin. However, it is hard to live in a radicalized society and not come to that mental and emotional conclusion. It is hard not to think that subconsciously, that we are dirty and sinful due to our Black skin and we must be “purified and whitened” to be clean and sanctified.

These are all very interesting concepts to think about. They are concepts in which I think are important for Church folk to be aware of, especially how biblical and church language excludes those who are different, such as solely using male pronouns to address God.

I, myself, am guilty of that and can probably count on my fingers how many times I have referred to God with female pronouns. It’s simply out of habit though, I don’t think a female perception of God is outside of my mental capacity. In fact, the merciful, loving part of God is extremely maternal in my eyes.

 

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