Listen and Be Patient

When you have a relationship with the person, you can build on the conversation over the course of months or years. Chipping away at inherent bias is a long process. Maintaining your relationship and showing that you are still listening to them and invested in them as a person is key to successfully helping them see their bias.  So focus on one issue at a time - don’t give into the urge to dump every concept on them at once. Slow and steady wins the race.

Making your conversation an actual dialogue also helps keep them open to hearing you, because they will also feel heard. It also will make it easier for you to understand what they value more clearly, which you can continue to use to help frame your explanations.

In her book Raising Race Questions, educator and researcher Ali Michael says, "If people have anxiety attacks when they see me coming because I challenge their views each time we talk, I'm not going to be a great resource for their learning. But if they know that I will listen to their thoughts and questions, meet them where they are, identify with them, encourage them to keep noticing their biases and assumptions, and give them food for thought, they might be more likely to continue to engage with me in this process, which is ongoing." This is why talking to your people is so important: because the process of learning about bias and oppression takes time, everyone needs people in their lives who will stick around and encourage them to keep it up. Be one of those people.

Jennifer Hare