The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression

I remember an incident when I experienced bias and prejudice. It is when one day when I was still a student at college, a close classmate was talking about someone she knew.  My classmate was a Caucasian female and she began to tell me and another student about how a girl she knew had made a mistake and by dating and moving in with a guy she just met. She added, “And he is black”.  I felt bad that, this girl who I considered a close classmate, we had done projects together, shared so many experiences and talked for years, yet she still saw someone my race as negative and inferior to associate with.  She probably did not think about it before she said it. I am sure she would not deliberately try to hurt me.   I believe this just came out being in her subconscious already.

The bias and prejudice in that incidence diminished equity because carrying feelings like this around without dealing with them is a major cause of why people treat others unfairly. She did not even know this guy and because she added “and he is black” already indicated that she disqualified him based on his color.  This was a microaggression and marginalization(Laureate Education, 2011).

I believe I could have turned this incident into an opportunity for greater equity if I had challenged this statement with a question like, “so is there something wrong with black guys”.  I believe, asking a question like this would have made her aware of her hidden bias and opened a conversation about it, which could be the beginning of a good process.  I feel that if we had more discussions like this among ourselves it would help us all to deal with our prejudices and biases.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Microaggressions in everyday life [Video file]. Retrieved