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