Racism. What will it take to end it?November 10, 2014 7 Comments
We are pleased to announce the release of Senior Associate Cynthia Silva Parker’s TedX talk. Cynthia shares moments she’s witnessed racism, and how she thinks we can end it. We hope you share this talk with your networks.
Cynthia has spent decades helping people understand how the system of racism operates. As Senior Associate at Interaction Institute for Social Change, she designs and facilitates collaborative equity and inclusion initiatives. These initiatives make change in organizations, cities, and networks. Cynthia also trains leaders through our public workshops.
She is a life-long advocate for racial equity and social justice, and for deeper awareness of each in our systems and organizations and the wider society. She focuses her observations, personal stories and career on strengthening collaborative networks by building the will, skill, knowledge and strategies to undo racism together.
I am delighted to hear Ms. Parker get at what I think is the crux, starting around the 6:55 mark. She says, “The good news is that while unconscious bias is wired into our neural processing, it is not permanent. And if we surround ourselves with relationships with people, with understandings of history with different kinds of images, we can shift that neural processing. We can shift, in a way, the operating system that becomes the background for our conscious choices and our conscious actions and we can make a difference. And we’ve got to take on that internal work and our external work at the same time.” The City-Wide Dialogues on Boston’s Ethnic & Racial Diversity that I was privileged to lead for 7 years, was based on a similar premise and on what is now sometimes known as the “social contact theory.” It is the knowledge that having the opportunity to get to know people from a feared or mistrusted “other” group on an individual and personal basis can changes one’s stereotypes about that whole “other group.” Recent brain research confirms that we are neurologically/genetically hardwired to prefer those who are like us and distrust those who aren’t. But “the good news,” as Ms.Parker says, is that by intentional efforts, like face-to-face facilitated inter-racial dialogues, with enough time and a safe space, can enable people to overcome psychological barriers and change them forever in a very good way. Here a couple of articles on how we employed this aspect of what Ms. Parker is talking about: http://www.civicdialogue.net/upload/Talk%20about%20race.Globe%20article.061905.GRAPHICS.pdf
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Good article about racism.