Imagine this scenario:
Four people have just been hired at the SAME time for the SAME job position. They all have the SAME levels of education, experience, and all display excellent job competency. Of these people are A WHITE MAN, A BLACK MAN, A WHITE WOMAN, AND A BLACK WOMAN.
First day on the job; the hiring supervisor is in a professional dilemma; needing assistance from one of the people he has just hired. He has not yet learned their individual work ethic or abilities, so he (a WHITE MAN) enters the room only to choose who he should depend on based solely on instincts. Who is he likely to choose? The white man is likely to always be the first candidate. Depending on if his own personal biases or based more on race or gender, next is possibly the BLACK MAN or the WHITE WOMAN. The BLACK WOMAN will probably always be the last candidate if we were to really carry out this scenario a number of times.
Fast forward to a year later. It is time for one of the four people to get promoted and one to get cut due to recent budget cuts. The hiring supervisor who has been biased towards what opportunities he gives to who, has now developed the belief that the WHITE MAN has a better work ethic than the BLACK WOMAN. He gets promoted; she gets cut. She was never given a fair chance from the day she started the job and has now received the shorter end of the stick solely on another individual's biases.
It is time to be fully CONSCIOUS of our biases and work intentionally to change them; the message delivered above by Verna Myers, with examples of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (both black men who lost their lives to senseless violence and a system who promotes being "UNITED", but fails to run towards this nation's rooted biases).
"Go deeper, closer, further. Build the kind of relationships that actually cause you to see the holistic person and goes against the stereotypes. This thing is not about perfection; its about connection. You're not gonna get comfortable before you get uncomfortable. Something really powerful and beautiful happens from having relationships with people who are different than you: you start to realize they are you. And then we become advocates, and then we become allies."- VERNA MYERS
Myers words are not exclusive to minority groups who are the majority of victims to unconquered biases. When I play the above scenario in my head, I had to re-evaluate how I (and others similar to me) are often oppressed and in what ways I oppress others who are different than me. I had to switch roles. What if I was the hiring manager? Would I really be conscious enough to make sure I gave equal opportunities EVERYDAY to the four people I just hired? Honestly, I am probably more likely to pick the black person, specifically the woman in that scenario. I am likely to give more opportunity to people I know experience the same oppression as I do. I am likely to establish a personal bond more openly to people who are women and with similar liberal political views. These are my biases and I am actively working on them. There is power in owning my biases. I advocate that others do the same and stop hiding behind "reasons" your biases are acceptable. Sadly, many in this nation refuse to own their biases and change them; resulting in death, social injustice, or unfair opportunities. EXTREMELY disadvantaging to African Americans and Latino communities. It is time to thoroughly change this by changing ourselves.
"Stop trying to be good people and be real people." Verna Myers