I spent the month exploring bias, both it’s effect and a little that can be done about it. I have also kept up with current events as possible. Check out what’s been happening on Create Parity during May.
Bias. What’s in a word? This one is the basis of a whole lot of discrimination and some unknown prejudices. This started with examining internal bias. I hope that you took a minute to think about your own biases, particularly in regards to gender relations and how race and sexual preference and everything intersect with them. From there we went into each person’s individual choice to give in to these biases. Many people assume that because biases are just under the surface and we tend to not be aware of them, then we can ignore them. We have the option to self-examine for bias and to attempt to look past it. Acceptance and compassion are difficult traits to master but well worth the struggle. One way that bias can manifest is when we fail to go beyond the single story and allow our preconceptions to create a story that is thought to be true of every person within that group. You might call them stereotypes, but I feel like word falls short of the full meaning. Keeping a single story for a group adds the stereotype of who you believe them to be along with creating a preconceived idea of where that person came from and their entire family history. When we allow ourselves to do this, we fail to accept and look past our biases. We begin to dehumanize groups with words and ideas for them that may be completely contrary to their personal truth. A disconcerting gray area is when people who feel oppressed are fighting for tolerance in a way that makes the other group feel oppressed by them. The thing to keep in mind is that tolerance is not something you can shout to enforce, not if you want real tolerance. It can affect a fake appearance of tolerant acts, but not tolerance, which comes from within. As we build this habit of tolerance and eliminating bias, remember to be patient and kind to people as you see them struggle with it. This is not an easy path.
Most news is tweeted, so please refer to my Twitter feed on the right for news or follow me @createparity. Most of the gender related news this month came from the California shooting, and the hashtag fight that followed it, the kidnapping of the Nigerian girls and Jill Abramson’s firing. The first few remain hot topics in the feeds but the infamous firing seems to have settled down in newsworthiness for now. The rest of the articles don’t really group together easily. I am constantly on the look out for more news and news outlets pertaining to men and the non-binary genders. There is a disproportionate amount of women’s news and while it keeps me well informed of women’s issues, there isn’t a lot out there that stay within my guidelines for men’s issues and there doesn’t seem to be a lot at all that I have seen for non-binary issues. It’s possible that I haven’t focused in on the right area, please recommend me something if you see it! For now, take a stroll through the Twitter feed for what has been going on with the genders that I have found. I did also peruse and get material from #genderneutralpronouns, #workplacesexism, #men, #yesallwomen, #notallmen, #nonbinary and #trans.
New sites for me this month have included The Shriver Report, Bustle, and NOMAS (National Organization For Men Against Sexism).
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @createparity and at Create Parity on Pinterest for more about gender issues!