As an NCWIT stakeholder, you learn to recognize and address unconscious or implicit bias by attending our Summit and workshops, by utilizing our resources, and by responding to bias in everyday interactions. Lately, however, there is an increasing need to acknowledge and address overt, explicit biases.
News events over the past several years, including the rhetoric in the recent campaigns, have increasingly revolved around in groups and out groups, who is acceptable and who is not; we are disheartened to say that it seems increasingly okay to say or do things that would have been unsayable or undoable only a short time ago. As a result, a wide variety of groups are feeling vulnerable (e.g., people of color, women, working class, rural and urban residents, immigrants, among others). And given what we know about intersectionality, we also know that the more marginalized groups someone belongs to (in terms of race, class, gender, geography, ability, sexual orientation), the more acutely she or he may feel this sense of uncertainty and danger. These recent developments make NCWIT’s work even more critical.
We want to encourage each of you to redouble your efforts at this critical time. It is especially important right now for leaders – and majority group allies – to remind everyone that divisive behavior and discriminatory statements are not okay. Recognizing that we can never really know what other people are feeling, now is also an especially important time for everyone to listen to one another with a spirit of inquiry and provide support.
There are other powerful actions we all can take as well:
Act today to counter exclusion by being consciously inclusive of your colleagues and developing a welcoming environment in your classrooms, your departments, your meetings, and your workplaces.
Act today to counter bias by checking your assumptions, by examining the language and images in your recruitment materials, by establishing practices in your organization that ensure all people have a voice and have influence, not just those in the majority.
Act today, and help us realize, recognize, and respond to bias in our systems and ourselves.
We thank you for all of the hard work you are doing, and will do. Together, we can rise above the hate-filled banter and show that our organizations are welcoming, inclusive places to work and study.