“The only things in life we can learn are things we don’t yet know.”
Everything that you know about the world around you has come from your experiences, education and perceptions. Everything. Humans have an intense psychological belief that what they know about the world is without question, the way the world actually is. This process called “The Illusion of Certainty” is critical because it helps us expedite our understanding of the world but also, it can open us up to discomfort and disbelief when someone shares with us an experience or perception that we haven’t had or cannot imagine.
Think about it, why are so many folks reaching out to their Black friends and coworkers right now? Because they have recognized that there are meaningful experiences that they have not had, and have not known. To be clear, it is NOT your responsibility to educate all of the folks around you. Requiring BIPOC to bear the burden of educating the world is a manifestation of the reason for the education in the first place. That being said, the world, in general, is possibly more open to learning than it has ever been, and we are in a unique position to educate folks if and when we so choose to. It is not your responsibility, but it may be your opportunity. What follows are ways in which we can be most effective in illuminating our own experience for those that are open to learning.
The interesting psychology of learning is that our brains want to rapidly identify patterns from small bits of data. This is what people call “boiling down” an issue. This is a problem when discussing racism and discrimination because it is not simple. It cannot be boiled down to just one thing. If you are having a dialogue with someone and they keep trying to boil it down, don’t shut them down, but redirect them. “That’s an i