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This current story resonated: Democrat State Senator Mona Dias Lies About Victimhood, published on ShiftWa.org.

In our country long ago, we made decisions that policies and procedures continuing "conscious" racist actions were not acceptable. School access, bus seat access, water fountain access, restaurant access, motel access, employment access, lending access could not be determined by your race. Property damage scare tactics and bodily injury were no longer condoned when racially motivated.

 

As a result, segregation in its various forms was forced to discontinue in the 1960's. Crimes committed in the light of the conscious hatred of racism were pursued more vigorously. Programs were established to make up for some of the past racism, especially in education access and government hiring. Since then we have worked sometimes diligently, sometimes haphazardly towards inclusion of all our citizens. There are indeed pockets that still have not "received" the memo and continue to resist, but in the lives of our boomer children we have made tremendous progress, from how their great grandparents and grandparents viewed the world to the diverse set of friends and co-workers they now have. 

Enter now the discussion of "unconscious" bias. Are we still biased? Yes, everyone is, for a kaleidoscope of reasons, not just ethnicity. We still seek out a "clan" that looks and/or sounds like ourselves. The old adage "there is safety in numbers" seems to be encoded in our DNA. The very word "unconscious" should be our clue. We all do and say things we don't give much thought to. For anyone to rant about this illustrates the naivety of looking for either the Buddhist state nirvana or the Judeo/Christian concept of the Garden of Eden.

Can we do better? Certainly! It is important that we communicate! It is important we communicate when affronted - bringing us from the unconscious to conscious. It is important we communicate kindly - so we are heard and understood. It is important we listen – so that we know if our assumptions are accurate.

Often, the people we speak to have NOT A CLUE what our personal histories are, especially in a day and age where any type of history is not taught.

It is our RESPONCIBILTY to tell each other (one on one and kindly) when we feel our toes have been stepped on and not assume because one person steps on our toes, "everyone" is stepping on us.

`Lorraine Newman