In a very complex and ever faster spinning world, it is important to pause again and again, to face new and unknown situations, to reflect and to approach strangers with an open mind. In this article, we give tips on how to break barriers through courage and thus make the world a little better.
Globally, one can perceive an ever deeper divide in society. One of the main reasons for this is that many people believe they know everything and have an answer for everything. No one can really exclude themselves from this. But none of us knows everything, because we live in a world that is far too complex for that.
Now you are probably asking yourself what all this has to do with courage? Courage means to acknowledge one’s personal non-knowledge or illusory knowledge and to question one’s dangerous half-knowledge. To shake one’s own and entrenched views and opinions can also really hurt in some places.
It takes courage to honestly name prejudices and barriers and to address them.
Discriminatory attitudes arise when we rely on our preconceived judgments and opinions. As a result, we disadvantage individuals or groups based on their membership in a particular social category or exclude them from opportunities, resources, or power. Discrimination can be based on many different characteristics, for example, origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disability.
We all have biases. Our brains are built this way: In order to react spontaneously, it draws on preconceived knowledge and opinions. The trick is to become aware of them and address them. By working on ourselves, each of us can make a positive change in our society.
To become aware of our biases, we need to take a look at our own behavior and views and ask ourselves how these views relate to our privileges. If our name is Max instead of Murat, we are more likely to get better grades in school, this has been proven in many studies (for example here). First, we can’t do anything about it, but nevertheless the bias that those without a migrant background are more successful than people with a migrant background, settles in our brains. The fact that our success is perhaps not as self-earned as we would like to make ourselves believe, is a realization that we first have to swallow.
It takes courage to face this challenge. Because as member of the majority society, it means understanding that we ourselves are part of the problem.
As a person of migration background, it takes courage to acknowledge discrimination and maybe verbalize it.
Women who have reported their experiences of violence in the context of #Metoo have shown courage.
But when we embrace the unknown, many rewards await: we discover new sides of ourselves, learn things about life and our fellow human beings, develop new skills, and broaden our perspectives on the world.
Education and empathy are the key
Education and empathy can help us reduce prejudice. They are our most important tools. We can look at our own lives from a new perspective, become open to the thoughts and views of others, and learn to develop more understanding for the differences between people.
We at MoreDiversity are convinced that we can only truly change perceptions and behaviors through action. Therefore, everyone has to start at the root, which is themselves. Have the courage to overcome old patterns and try out new things, because change comes from realization and doing! Daring the unknown can be challenging and even scary, but it’s worth it: we discover new sides of ourselves, learn things about life and our fellow human beings, develop new skills, and broaden our perspectives on the world.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s be brave and embrace the unknown!