The fallout from 2020 is far from over. However, besides issues pertaining to the pandemic or natural disasters, there’s one area over which you can exert control. Last year saw more attention aimed at the topic of race than we’ve seen in some time. Some call it a reckoning, but for many, it created some internal confusion.
You want to be racially aware but you’re not sure how. Everyone seems to have a racial/political agenda and you don’t know where to turn for solid answers. While it’s good to seek input, it is also essential that such awareness grows from personal contemplation and motivation. To that end, there are some basic steps you can take every day.
The Power of Cultural Conditioning
There’s a major obstacle to avoid during your work to be anti-racist. Like virtually anyone else, you do not (or cannot) see yourself as having a bias. You’re a good person and you go out of your way to do the right thing. It feels counterintuitive to imagine yourself as even a tiny part of such an ugly social problem. But you’re up against some unseen and embedded forces.
It can be incredibly helpful for you to recognize that we are all subject to the power of cultural conditioning. In a society founded on long-term racial biases, it is impossible to not be influenced by this dynamic. This doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you an influenceable human. Accepting this can free you from feeling defensive or ashamed. From there, you are better positioned to explore, learn, accept, and evolve.
5 Everyday Ways to Be More Racially Aware
1. Accept the Existence of Structural Racism
It begins with this acceptance. Do not overtly or covertly deny the existence of racism. Accepting it situates you to address your role. This is something you will likely have to remind yourself on a daily basis.
2. Examine Your Own Thoughts and Actions
No one is served well by virtue-signaling or martyrdom. What’s really required is a measure of open-minded introspection. Check yourself routinely to make certain you are acting from a place of empathy, authenticity, and compassion.
3. Become a Better Listener
The best way to understand experiences outside your own reality is to listen. Hone your listening skills and learn how to find knowledge in what you hear — and do not hear. Broaden the scope of your interactions and tune into the potential for new discoveries.
4. Reject Confirmation Bias
Our news feeds and the mainstream media have the potential to keep us locked into a mindset. To widen your worldview, you must actively seek out content that doesn’t merely reaffirm your current beliefs. Here is where listening will be useful.
5. Maintain Perspective
Don’t expect to grasp new concepts overnight. Social media pressure feels overwhelming but please be kind to yourself. The journey toward self-awareness is a long and winding road. You must commit to the process but there is no reason to rake yourself over the coals along the way.
When Racial Dynamics Are Hard to See
Cultural conditioning is tricky and immensely powerful. Yet, it can seem invisible. Social dynamics and privilege are baked in deeply. It may require intense effort to recognize them. It helps to have a compassionate, professional guide by your side on this journey of awareness.
Working with a non-judgmental therapist is an excellent option for anyone seeking to move beyond their conditioning. Your counselor will help you identify patterns that might not be visible to you at first. In this open state, you’ll be receptive to new input and feedback. Let’s start this crucial process together. Please reach out today to set up a consultation.