Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Thinking Differently to Eliminate a Bias


I have come to the realization that how we talk about our fellow American brothers and sisters is affected by personal bias. An unconscious bias that we did not even know existed. And, worse, the bias is often perpetuated by the news media. 

Take, for example, the current violence against Americans of Asian descent. This type pf violence has spiked since the former president, whose name will not be repeated here, labeled Covid-19 the "Chinese Virus"  and also the "Kung Flu" and vehemently blamed China for the pandemic. 

The problem, as I see it, is the way we describe other's ethnicities. When the phrase "Asian American" is used, it places the emphasis on our differences. If the emphasis were place on the commonality first and the difference second, then it is my hope that we might be able to become a more inclusive, rather than exclusive, society. 

So, my proposal is, that when, for some reason it is necessary to identify a race, religion or ethnicity, the order of the terms be changed to focus upon being American first and then the particular race, ethnicity, or religion second. 

Some examples:

Americans of Irish descent. 

Americans who worship Catholic.

Americans of Asian descent.

Americans who are Hispanic.

Americans of Polish descent.

Americans of Arabic descent.

I think it works. I personally am working to evolve my thinking to remember that we are all Americans first. None of us except for the Native Americans have any more claim to being true Americans that others.

We must change the way we fundamentally think about others to help erase unconscious biases.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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