Someone asked me at a workshop I was running whether I thought I had any prejudices. I guess my natural desire was to say “of course not”, but that wouldn’t be true. We are all informed by a complex mixture of socialisation, education and other influences that inform not only our decision making, but also our judgements. I explained that no-one can be completely free of prejudice.
So when at work, what do we do with the prejudices. Clearly we do not want them exposed, else this is likely to lead to accusations of discrimination which is, after all, prejudice in action.
The workshop I was running took a new direction, working with participants to help them to recognise and name our inner prejudices. This exploration enabled them to know where their prejudices came from and see how they could challenged them. This certainly is the first step to ensure equitable behaviour. It proved such a worthwhile exercise that many Equality Edge workshops will spent some time undertaking a similar exploration.
It is time well spent to challenge your own judgements. What do you see or hear in your life that resonates with your prejudices.
- Do you give less to the Pakistan flood appeal because of comments linking the regime there to terrorism?
- Do you make negative comments about women drivers, despite being told that men are far more likely to cause accidents and drive badly?
- Do you think that the NHS should withhold treatment to people who chose a lifestyle different to yours, even though they know it may cause health problems?
- Do you think that all young people are thugs and should be kept off the streets and avoided at all costs?
- Do you fail to recognise the difference in others, judgements them by your standards and expecting them to be like you?
So have a little think – where are your prejudices. I know where mine are!