I had to make a deliberate, cognitive shift to associate positive words with pictures of black men.
First, you look for your bias.
It’s about facing what Richard Rohr calls, “your shadow self.” He describes it not as your evil self but as your denied self, your feared self and your rejected self. It’s the self you complain most about when you see it reflected in others. He says,
Maturing means facing your shadow self and accepting it as part of who you are.
This is true for the individual and it is scalable to organizations, communities and even nations. Facing the shadow self means letting go of our need to be the best or put on a good face, and owning up to who we really are…to who we really have been. It means shedding the masks and disguises and exposing the shadow self for what it is. And once exposed for what it is, then Rohr says, “The game is over.
“Its effectiveness entirely depends on costume and pretense.”
Once we reclaim the previously denied, feared, and rejected shadow self, we may walk the path of wholeness and hear the voice of our true self (our inner teacher, our soul) in quiet reflection. We hear the demands of our heart – the center of who we are – and we discover our way.
Much of this hinges on forgiveness: forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, forgiving our community, forgiving our nation. It calls us to a radical acceptance of life as it is, so that we can embrace one another and work together towards healing.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Aristotle
Vernā Myers’ TED talk on how to overcome our biases expands on her three steps for moving forward (watch now)