Part of the requirements in the “Kids” college class I mentioned on Monday was to go online and take this thing called the IAT Test. When I read the opening page introducing the test, I became nervous. It said this:
“It is well known that people don’t always ‘speak their minds’, and it is suspected that people don’t always ‘know their minds’.
I knew right then I was possibly at risk. Guilty, on both counts, no doubt.
Another line mentioned something about “conscious-unconscious divergences.”
Ummm, that could definitely be me too. My kids have mentioned I don’t make sense alot lately… maybe that is the explanation…
Still, this was an assignment, so I had to take this test. Finally I came to this ominous warning:
“If you are unprepared to encounter interpretations that you might find objectionable, please do not proceed further.”
With great hesitation I clicked on the “proceed” button. I knew this was about race, but I was hopeful that the results would indicate what I truly believed about myself- that I do not show preference for people based on the color of their skin.
The results hit me hard. They indicated I showed a strong preference for European (white) people.
I felt this huge sense of shame as my head fell forward onto the keyboard of my computer, while in my heart I kept thinking “it can’t be.” In the next breath I found myself asking God to forgive me.
It would have been easy to just dismiss the results, say they weren’t applicable, refuse to allow the opening to be widened within me. But somehow I knew there was some truth to it, even if it was hard to admit. I needed to confront this.
Did this mean I was racist? No, not necessarily. But it did indicate there was some racist junk inside me that needed to be revealed, stuff that I picked up unconsciously along the road of my life, buried attitudes that were possibly causing me to show preference without even realizing it.
I learned, again, that it is possible “that people don’t always know their own minds.” Me, particularly.
Seeing this has made me more aware. I don’t want to subliminally marginalize people, for any reason. Enough of that “conscious-unconscious divergence” within. It is a start.
When I used to put my kids to bed I sang songs to them before my final round of hugs and kisses. The words of one of my favorites comes to me now:
“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in his sight…”
When I talk about issues like this here on my blog, it is not as a person who, in pride, believes I’ve got it. Quite the contrary. My experience with the IAT test exposes that beautifully! Thank God for second and third and fourth chances. Thank God if we are still alive and breathing we can be different, learn from our mistakes, and help others do the same.
Now, to end the week on a humorous note! After Religion last week… and Racism this week, I thought we needed that…
I don’t know if you have ever watched “The Colbert Show” on Comedy Central, but if you haven’t and you need a laugh (regardless of what side of the political spectrum you sit on, if you sit at all!) I highly recommend it. Recently my daughter Amber posted on facebook a music video Colbert did to a song by Daft Punk. It is hilarious! Due to technical difficulties uploading the video directly from Colbert’s website, I found this on Vimeo. Thanks to Kerry Morrison for posting this!