Trained Hair and Other Cultural Difference

A couple months ago I took an implicit bias test. Because I was going to show that a highly enlightened person such as myself would come out squarely in the middle.

Implicit bias tests measure how much you prefer one race over the other- strongly, slightly or not at all.

Why are implicit bias tests important? Because different cultures are socialized in different ways and if you are biased against a specific culture, you may harshly and unjustly judge a cultural norm of a person. And this can be very damaging to a person’s emotional well being. After all, if it’s a cultural thing then you are being punished for your “normal.”

This test would prove just how wonderfully tolerant and enlightened I am. Right?

Yeah… Well…

I was wrong.

I showed to be strongly biased toward dark skinned people. Strongly biased.


But I love white people.

I love all people.

I treat all people fairly and with kindness.

Or do I?

This test showed me that my internal bias was strongly in favor of people with dark skin.

This troubled me and made me examine myself.

And i said, yes, I can see this.

First, I love my people, I really do. I feel happy when I see them. So I could certainly see that.

I didn’t always feel this way. Being raised in a white environment that didn’t hold high esteem for people of color and were vocal about it eroded my sense of wanting to be Black or associate with Black people. It definitely took time before I felt comfortable around my people. And I call them my people because I have always been associated as being Black.

Although we want to act that race doesn’t matter in this country, it does and we categorize and judge based on appearance before all things.

So, it took me a while to love being Black and to love my people. I was well into my twenties before I even was around Black people on a consistent basis. And I learned the beauty of myself and my people and that’s a great thing. I won’t easily let that go.

Secondly, I do attribute negative characteristics to some white people. Like being judgmental or being mean.

I was “guarded” around white people. On the surface I would be nice, but deep inside I was waiting for something racist to come out of their mouth.

And it’s not to say that my feelings are not without reason or they are not valid sometimes. Sometimes. That’s very important because it is only sometimes.

I have learned that my past experiences have jaded me in ways that I was not ready to confront before.

On the flip side of this is that I am not afraid to call out racism when
I see it. Or classism. Or sexism.

I honestly do wanna change the world.

And I believe we can. If we can be honest with ourselves and take a deep look within.

Sometimes when you do wrong, you have to ask for forgiveness.

Sometimes you have to humble yourself and admit you are wrong.

And you have to know when is the time to stand up for what is right.

It’s not necessarily wrong for me to strongly prefer dark people, I am Black after all. I have finally found beauty in the mirror. It was a long road to get there and I’m not willing to go back.

What would be wrong would be to ignore this bias and to pretend like it doesn’t exist. It would be wrong for me to mistreat people who do not look like me because of this bias.

So I must keep myself in check and assure myself that I am acting fairly to everyone at all times.

This to me is where wisdom grows.

This is where we can grow as a community while we still embrace that which makes us unique.

This is where some people know what training hair means and other don’t, but we can both respect each other.

This is how we become One.


About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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