This activity will take 10 minutes. You will need a piece of paper and something to write with and a mirror. If you have a journal, use it.
As you look at the picture of the iceberg above, you should
notice that about 10% of the ice mountain sits above the water line. This is the part of the iceberg that you
normally can see. About 90% of the ice
mountain is below the surface of the water and usually not seen. Now draw a
picture of an iceberg on your piece of paper.
Now look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? What do other people see when they encounter you? Imagine someone who has never met you before – how would they describe you? Your skin color, your gender, your height…Write your observations about what you see on a piece of paper above the surface of the water line. This is important, so write down what you see.
Now think about all the personal characteristics that are NOT readily apparent to others who encounter you. Write those characteristics on the piece of paper below the water line. You might include your education, your employment, your religion, your relationships, etc.
Questions to ask yourself:
Where do most of your characteristics about yourself fall – above or below the line?
Where do the characteristics that have the most importance to you fall – above or below the line?
Do people ever make assumptions about “who you are” using characteristics that they can only see? If so, how does that make you feel?
What skills do you use to reveal what lies below the surface of the water in your relationships?
Stereotypes abound when there is distance. They are an invention, a pretense that one knows when the steps that would make real knowing possible cannot be taken or are not allowedbell hooks
Adapted from the Iceberg Analogy in the 2006 publication by the National Multicultural Institute.
We are more apt to accept someone else’s
culture if we are utilizing our higher brain in our thinking. Higher brain
thinking reflects attention to rewiring the neural pathways of unconscious bias
and negative thinking.
When we are using
higher brain function, executive function, our pre-frontal cortex leads the way. We show up with the ability to process
complex conflicting information, have a great sense of self awareness and more
likely that choices are more conscious.
Our body can give us clues to whether or not we are using our higher brain state. We are relaxed and comfortable in our skin. We are attentive to what is going on around us. Our thinking is clear. We feel confident and empowered.
There are multiple strategies for recognizing and reducing implicit bias. One of the most important practices is to strengthen your metacognition – the ability to think about what you are thinking and feeling.