All forms of prejudice require continuous treatment to unlearn ways of thinking and being. I don’t believe it’s possible to immediately switch from having racist ideas/thoughts to suddenly being woke.
Liam Neeson wanted to end the life of ANY black man he encountered back in 19## because someone close to him was raped by a black man. In sharing this from his past, he admitted to having racist thoughts but claims to not be a racist.
Now, many have really dug into the nuances of who, what, where, and when. What I want to focus on is PREJUDICE of any kind – but yes, specifically racism.
I read someone’s comment on a recent “half-cast podcast” episode and to paraphrase: If Neeson was sharing something anti-semitic then be sure he would’ve been more sensitive about how he articulated this account. But because it’s concerning black lives, it seems like the same consideration has not been employed.
Starting a conversation with an admission is all well and good, but the arrogance to state or think that you can counsel or therapeutically do away with prejudice is naive. Prejudice is learned behaviour and requires us to unlearn over a period of time, not from a few sessions with a Coach or Therapist.
What then is the treatment for our prejudicial thoughts?
The answer isn’t straightforward since it occurs as we actively seek solutions. There’s no textbook or theory or resource to go to. Just like all life-education, it takes time, effort, and discipline.
I think it starts from a micro level. Examples: If someone cuts you up in traffic, do not insult them based on their race. If you hear someone being racist, tell them off. This goes for family too.
Macro level? It’s something I myself have attempted to do on my podcast and with my content; in how I respond to racially charged negativity that has come my way, as well as learning how to be sensitive to cultural and racial differences. But this requires an open mind, a self-questioning mindset, and stepping out of our silos.
Like anything in life, its about learning and unlearning. But prejudice most definitely is not healed or treated via a PR statement or a few interactions with those whom we ‘other’. Your thoughts?