Looking at Bias in the Mirror By Connie Huss-Boyle Have you ever experienced meeting a person for the fi rst time and making a snap judgment – positive or negative – before learning the truth later? Perhaps you were conned or even worse, you denied yourself the friendship of another beautiful human being! In my time on this earth, I have learned so much about my own preconceived ideas. I have an unpleasant memory from my teaching days of the judgment of two students. One student was slovenly and slothful. The other was a clean-cut young man who wore a religious medal, a possible winner of the “good student award.” Their outward appearances didn’t refl ect their personalities.The fi rst pupil was truly a caring person, helping people living in a shelter, while the second student was arrested as a drug dealer. So much for making wise judgments about other people! I believe this behavior happens too frequently in our daily lives. Hopefully, I have evolved and am more guarded in pre-judging others. As a child, I remember meeting a classmate who was born with cerebral palsy. Marian had tremors and a speech impediment, so I was nervous when she invited me to her home for a sleep-over. We had a lovely time - the beginning of a lifelong friendship, truly a best friend. Putting a face on a fear might dispel angst and ignorance! As my husband and I raised our large family in an integrated neighborhood, many experiences expandPage 4 ed my understanding of others’ cultures and lifestyles. It was an environment in which many parents practiced the belief that “It takes a village to raise a child,” and we corrected each others’ children. I quickly learned the Black moms had to teach their sons in a manner that would prepare them for situations in which authority fi gures might be different from our wonderful neighbors. A couple of our teenage sons experienced such a situation. They were driving their usual route home from school when they were pulled over by the police and ordered to get out of the car. The teens and the car were searched. The judgment was they were the wrong color for that particular section of Toledo. I realize that does not happen too often to people of Irish-German descent! That incident enlightened me on the daily worries of African-American parents. Listening to the stories of my neighbors, I came to the realization I have never been followed in a store, complimented on being a credit to my race, or asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. These were all things they were experiencing in their daily lives. I also recall the time we hosted a foreign exchange student. Phaisan was from Asia, a son of wealthy parents, working on his second doctorate degree. He needed some expensive school supplies and asked me to help with securing them. I was mortifi ed at the way Phaisan was treated by an American clerk. Not a way to feel welcome. Another memory is regarding a wonderful, well-liked neighbor living across the street. The gentleman lived an alternative lifestyle, but no one hesitated getting free advice from him regarding the well-being of their children. He was a doctor! The moral of this story: those who discriminate against others are not just working havoc in others’ lives, but they are also denying themselves the opportunity to expand their knowledge, compassion, and very possibly a best friend. In other words, neither party is able to use the gifts they possess, nor accomplish their true vocation or passion.. In reality this is such a waste when the well-being of our society would truly profi t from inclusion. Who Are Today’s Changemakers? By: Zoe Reid and Isabelle Whitehurst Zoe: As a teenage woman, and a part of the 98% of my community that is White, I have noticed that some believe that ignorance can be bliss. We have lived our lives with the white privilege we didn’t even recognize, the biases we didn’t even know we have. But how can we ignore the 9-minute police body cam footage of the breath leaving George Floyd’s body? How can we ignore the quote by Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” that is fl ooding our feeds? With the immediate response to deadly hate crimes often being this hit too close to home, who’s home will be next? In the days following the murder of George Floyd, I was unsure how my activism journey would begin. I opened my social media accounts on a summer Tuesday morning and did not see the usual selfi es with friends and videos of cute animals. Post after post was a simple black square with the hashtag #blackouttuesday. After a quick search, I agreed that my personal content needed to be silenced to create national and worldwide awareness to those who have been affected by racism and police brutality. A picture is worth a thousand words, but a black square told countless stories about tragic deaths and the severity of the racism that plagues our nation. Walking up to a nearby park near sundown on a summer night, I was unsure of what I was getting myself into. I had spent all morning making signs out of cardboard and hoped to see familiar faces in the crowd. Seeing community members that, like me, wanted to put in the work to dismantle racism was a step in the right direction towards equality and inclusion. Hearing passing cars honk their horns in approval while we shouted chants made my heart swell with enthusiasm. Seeing hearts that were hurt gather together safely to show their empathy and alliance showed how ready we were to take on dismantling racism. And this was only the beginning. Isabelle: As a teenage woman, and a part of the 0.3% of my community that is Black, I have realized that understanding the complexities of racism can be tough. It allows those with white privilege to not particularly notice their privilege and to be oblivious to the problems happening around them. That is the diffi cult aspect of being a person of color and having to advocate for myself and my minority and help those understand what is going on. Beforehand, I was a young Black person not exactly understanding or necessarily wanting to know about my history and the world’s problems with racism. During quarantine is when my mindset and my way of thinking evolved. I started to realize that people in the world don’t recognize racism and therefore contribute to it, that people of color do get the short end of the stick. Being home much more due to online schooling and COVID-19, I paid more attention to the news, did research, and started to realize that people of color are being abused by the system; the police, government, healthcare, society and much more. It hurts me knowing that people around the world are dying and being taken advantage of all because of the color of their skin. During the summer of 2020 and following George Floyd’s death, I was indescribably sad. For the fi rst time, I watched the bodycam footage of the cop interacting with George and I started bawling and could not watch the whole video because of George’s deep emotions. His expressions showed he did not want to die. This is a very typical thought for a person of color to exCultivating Change

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