Subtle Racism
Image Credit : Upworthy

In our candid moments, it’s undeniable – we all engage in the subtle art of making assumptions about others. We cast quick glances at their skin, take note of their attire, and even observe the vehicle they drive, unknowingly weaving narratives about them. It’s a universal human tendency, often done without conscious awareness.

Consider the scenario where a pregnant female colleague is asked about her post-baby work plans, a question seldom posed to an expectant father. Or the well-intentioned inquiry directed at a friendly girl behind the bagel shop counter, wondering if she plans to pursue college for a better job, only to discover she holds a Ph.D. and is currently underemployed. Then there’s the harmless attempt to connect with a subway commuter with a hipster aesthetic, presuming an affinity for artisanal pickles, only to find out she’s merely a poorly dressed individual unfamiliar with the topic.

Yet, for people of color, these encounters with others’ assumptions become a constant, often burdensome reality. Extensive research underscores the profound impact of external expectations on individuals, shaping their paths to success or failure. This burden is disproportionately shouldered by black women, as evidenced by recent studies. Shockingly, nearly half of the surveyed female black and Latina scientists reported being regularly mistaken for janitors or administrative staff, highlighting the pervasive nature of these assumptions.

Confronting and dismantling these assumptions is a collective responsibility, fostering an environment where individuals are seen beyond superficial judgments. Awareness and understanding pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable society, acknowledging the diversity of experiences that shape each person’s unique journey.

Repurposed article originally published in Upworthy

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