]All humans are born with a natural desire to learn. The only thing that impedes this innate proclivity is bias – racial (ethnic), scientific, religious, personal, class (economic status), and cultural (often witnessed as Nationalism), etc. And, the only way to acquire bias is to learn it, through indoctrination – either directly from our families, or indirectly from our society.
The biases we adopt, influence our likes, dislikes, and fears, and they not only shape our personally held belief system and morals, and how we view the world, but they also dictate whether we are open to new ideas and concepts, and the resulting change – or not. Over time, our prejudices become deeply entrenched - so much so that they become habitual. Furthermore, like any other addiction, they are extremely hard to break.
Over time, we have designed an endless number of curricula and programs to address bias, xenophobia, and intolerance. Nevertheless, I will argue that unlearning these perspectives, cannot be taught in a coercive educational setting, including employment training programs, or even through incentivization or punishment. Additionally, changes in behavior certainly can’t be assessed through standardized (or, any other kind of) testing.
Nobody can force you to change your mind or your behaviors. With that being said, we should not be afraid to name (callout) bigotry when we witness it. However, we can’t expect that simply because we challenge someone’s attitude or behavior, they will be open to adjusting it. At some point, we all become responsible for all of our biases - no matter how they were formed, additionally, we, alone, have to do the, uncomfortably, hard work to change them - or not.
Openness (or - closed-ness) and curiosity are the keys. If we are willing to honestly explore a new idea - sit with it, ponder it from all sides, seek out other viewpoints, as well as factual information, and be willing to change our minds and actions - that is where we unlock the path for real learning and authentic change.
I can tell you that if (or when) your prejudices harm other people - whether explicitly, intentional, or implied, you will eventually be held accountable for them.
We are still considering when and if we will be offering our Summer Program. NYS is allowing Day Camps to open - even though we are not technically considered a "camp," this opens the way for us to begin programming with all necessary safety precautions in place. If you would like to provide programs this summer, please let us know.
Our social media this past week has used the words of notable black women to highlight our commitment to include the concepts of justice and equity, while providing a space where everyone is supported and encouraged to follow their interests, passions, and aspirations.