You shouldn’t need a Harvard degree to survive birdwatching while Black

Date Published: 5/28/2020

Author(s): Samuel Getachew

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Summary: Often, when an innocent black person is harassed (or worse), people (usually white people) reinforce the black person’s innocence by noting their education or talent, rather than emphasizing that simply being human is enough to be allowed to exist in the world without harassment and threat. This creates a dangerous hierarchy that "says black people have to be exceptional just to be allowed to live." On the flip side, a black person's history can be used against them--if a black person is murdered by police, white people look for past "bad behavior", as if that justifies the violence. Both of these extremes are issues to address.

Take Action!

Learn to identify implicit biases by asking yourself the question: "What assumptions do I make about BIPOC people I see throughout my daily life, and would I make the same assumptions if they were white?". Consider taking a workshop or class to learn more about your implicit biases.