Vernā Myers: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them
Vernā Myers - Diversity advocate
Vernā Myers is dedicated to promoting meaningful, lasting diversity in the workplace. Full bio
a wonderful time listening
"The Warmth of Other Suns."
fleeing the South from 1915 to 1970
from all the brutality
opportunity up North,
of the resilience and the brilliance
all the stories of the horrors
and all the humiliations.
about the beatings and the burnings
this is a little deep.
to turn on the radio."
laid on the ground dead,
and his neighbors watched in horror,
against black men
It's just different names.
of our national psyche.
crosses the street,
shooting people down in the street,
stereotypes and prejudices
these types of incidents,
and being willing to change ourselves.
to offer us today to think about
from happening again;
will not only protect them
so that they can thrive.
embracing young black men,
giving them that kind of openness,
to people we love?
How much better would our country be?
at the beginning of the workshop.
we're so glad you're here" --
in our body."
and I see all my biases."
pilot coming over the P.A. system,
we are rocking it.
getting turbulent and bumpy,
I knew that was a bias
and there's always a guy driving
the confidence of the male driver.
I would say, "Female pilot: awesome."
and a little troublesome, a little risky,
even know that I had.
what we have learned.
which measures unconscious bias,
We like white people.
of black men and white men,
that white person with a positive word,
trying to associate
and vice versa.
black with negative
taking that test prefer white.
taking that test prefer white.
when the contamination came down.
that our brain automatically associates?
that you probably are thinking about,
on my color blindness.
trying to make a difference
It was what we did when we saw the color.
pretending not to see,
in which racial difference
that's keeping them from thriving,
an early death.
are telling us is, no way.
and memorize them,
at awesome folks who are black,
automatically in our brain.
these beautiful black men behind me?
associations about who black men are.
grow up to be amazing human beings
and made them better.
our automatic assumptions,
who is odious that you know,
causes us to disassociate too.
So go looking for your bias.
and go looking for disconfirming data
your old stereotypes are wrong.
young black men instead of away from them.
and intentional about it.
one time several years ago
and she's really wonderful
and she's a woman of color, she's Korean.
it was late at night,
we were going, we were lost.
and I was thinking, "Oh great, black guy."
without even thinking about it.
"Oh, that's interesting."
he was a black guy.
know where they're going.
but that's what I think.
were going, 'Yay, a black guy'?"
'Ooh, a black guy.'"
same guy, same clothes,
I'm a diversity consultant.
I'm a woman of color. Oh my God!"
We really need to relax about this."
I go way back with black guys.
You see what I'm saying?
I was married to a black guy.
is so wide and so deep
and figure out who that black guy is,
where you're going. I'll take you there."
we make up about people
and be afraid of them?
to walk toward your discomfort.
to take any crazy risks.
and professional circles.
folks, men, women?
from who you are
Just look around your periphery.
in your classroom,
there's some black young guy there.
and build the kinds of relationships,
cause you to see the holistic person
friends in particular that will say,
is going to work for me.
about perfection. It's about connection.
before you get uncomfortable.
and authentically, take the invitation.
who can see your humanity.
and the compassion
with people who are different from you.
and beautiful happens:
that they are you in your family,
we become advocates,
into a bigger, brighter thing,
another Ferguson from happening.
young black men, can thrive.
to put it out there anyway.
the courage to say something,
and it's going to be a time
and having a good time.
the conversations around the table.
"Grandma's a bigot."
and we love Uncle Joe. We do.
but what they're saying is wrong.
because you know who else is at the table?
and move from generation to generation?
we don't call people that anymore."
that he deserved that.
from the ugliness of racism
have the luxury to do so,
young black sons.
our lovely darlings, our future,
an amazing country with incredible ideals,
and we have made some progress,
into our institutions
devaluing of young black men.
in this society
and is willing, above all other things,
can be seen for all of who they are.
statesmen that have ever lived,
are powerful preachers.
and artists and writers.
with dreams of their own.
About the speaker:Vernā Myers - Diversity advocate
Vernā Myers is dedicated to promoting meaningful, lasting diversity in the workplace.
Why you should listen
Vernā Myers is a diversity consultant and self-described "recovering lawyer" with a degree from Harvard Law. She leads the Vernā Myers Consulting Group, an organization that has helped break down barriers of race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation in thousand-member workplaces. She is also the author of Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go from Well-Meaning to Well-Doing.
Myers encourages us to recognize our own biases in order to actively combat them, emphasizing a "low guilt, high responsibility" philosophy. In her work she points to her own inner biases, because, as she says, "People relax when they know the diversity lady has her own issues."
Vernā Myers | Speaker | TED.com