Dear Editor,

Exactly one week before MLK Jr. Day, fifty-five years after Dr. King gave his life so that we might get there one day, I was confronted with painful evidence that while we’ve made movement in the right direction, we are far from truly understanding and uprooting social bias.

The irony of the historical timing of this incident was compounded by the irony of location, the “progressive” town of Concord, Massachusetts, where the accident of my condition ran into the buzzsaw of someone’s characterization of me. 

I’m a psychotherapist, an educator, and a consultant and facilitator on matters related to social identity, social bias, and social justice. And every now and again, I’m challenged to facilitate my own movement through a moment in which I am the victim of someone’s bias.

 I take pleasure and pride in designing and implementing processes that help others improve their inclusivity practices. When I find myself at the strange intersection of knowing all I do about this challenging dimension of life and wondering what I should do when the challenge is upon me, I tend to try to write about the situation.

Writing about such moments is safe, gives me a chance to reflect on what I endured, and, since I usually share such narratives with family, friends, and colleagues, writing affirms my right to use my voice. Additionally, I hope that such writing provides an opportunity for readers to bear witness, empathize, self-examine, and most importantly find their own voices in the movement toward there.

Here’s the story of my most recent collision with the persistence of social bias in America. I wonder what you’ll make of it. And, consistent with my emphasis on praxis in my inclusivity work, I wonder what you’ll do with it.

Carlos Hoyt, Lexington Resident

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6 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing. There is always this urge to be able to ask people about what they were thinking – to make them pause and think about it.

  2. Had you considered the possiblity the person leaving the bank was abiding by rules that stress not to open the door for anyone to gain entry- that they should use their ATM card to gain entry? Is it possible that person felt uncomfortable following this generallly prescribed safety practice- not because of what you look like but because maybe they wanted to let you in but felt they should follow the bank rules ?

    1. Follow the ATM RULES? What rules are there to abide by other than being polite and hold the door for the next patron to conduct their business? This person was terrified of a big black man call it what you see.. racism is extremely prevalent here. And Im going to leave it at that!

      1. Bank of America has the following ATM safety tip posted on their website, “When using an ATM with a door that requires card access, close the entry door completely upon entering and exiting and do not open the door for anyone you don’t know.” The previous customer was just following the bank’s advice. https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/self-service-atms/ Retrieved Jan 30, 2023

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