Welcome aboard! When I first mentioned the idea of a racial baggage challenge, it was a joke. “The Biggest Loser” was debuting that night; I was reflecting on new year’s resolutions and race relations. But then, people started “liking” my post and declaring “I’m in.” So, here we are. My hope is that as you engage in the various activities you

1) learn more about yourself and others,

2) understand the dynamics of race in our society, and

3) begin to see ways you can interrupt the cycle of racism

….. to minimize the ways race weighs us down.

This journey to shed racial baggage will last 8 weeks. You can jump on and off as you please. Thanks for being willing to jump on board.

Oddly, we will begin within. To rush to focusing on learning about or befriending the “other” without first examining oneself is…. well, dangerous. Unexamined, our assumptions and biases get in the way and make across group interactions difficult.

So, we start with examining our own personal bias. You might say, “I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body.”

To that, I would say, “think again.” We ALL have them, and that does not make us, our parents or our families bad people.

The biggest lesson is to be aware of your biases rather than deny they exist. Awareness will pave the way for the rest of our challenge. So, resist the urge to skip over this step assuming you are one of the “good ones.” Each one of us could benefit from self-reflection to become more aware of our unconscious biases.

Goal for Week One: to get a baseline and begin to develop an awareness of our unconscious biases.

Challenge for Week One:
Your task for the week is to go through at least one of the following IATs: Race, Weapons, Asian, Arab-Muslim, or Native (this will make sense when you get to the site and will take about 10 minutes). Keep your results somewhere where you can refer back.

The implicit association test (IAT) is a task that reflects the possible disconnect between what we consciously say and what we unconsciously think.

That’s it! It’s that simple.

*For bonus points, talk about your results with someone you trust.

**For extra bonus points, take this now so that you can compare your results at the end.

Let me know how it’s going!