Transcript: Diversity: Not So Black and White | Dec 04, 2015

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, lilac shirt, and striped lilac tie. Behind him, a wall screen reads “The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.”

Steve says WE ALL HARBOUR BIASES,
INCLUDING RACIAL BIASES.
THEY'VE BEEN BUILT INTO OUR
BRAINS BY EVOLUTION, AND CAN
OFTEN INTERFERE WITH OUR
DECISION-MAKING AND ACTIONS.
JOINING US NOW TO SHED SOME
LIGHT ON WHAT WE CAN DO TO
COMBAT OUR BIASES:
HERE'S SHAKIL CHOUDHURY, AUTHOR
OF “DEEP DIVERSITY: OVERCOMING
US vs. THEM.”

Shakil is in his forties, clean-shaven, with short tousled black hair. He’s wearing glasses, a blue shirt, and a light gray vest.
A picture of his book appears briefly. The cover is black, with three circles in tones of blue and green.

Steve continues GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK HERE IN
OUR STUDIO.
HOW IS IT GOING?

Shakil says IT'S
GOING GREAT.
THANKS FOR HAVING ME BACK,
STEVE.

Steve says THE FIRST PARAGRAPH
OF YOUR BOOK, YOU SAY THAT YOU
SPENT YOUR CHILDHOOD PRETENDING
THAT YOU WERE WHITE.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says NOW, THIS JUST IN.
YOU'RE NOT WHITE.
SO WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Shakil Choudhury. Author ‘Deep diversity.’"
Then, it changes to “Diversity: Not so black and white. Our hidden biases.”

Shakil says IT'S INTERESTING.
IT'S NOT SOMETHING I CONSCIOUSLY
THOUGHT OF.
IT WASN'T SOMETHING THAT I EVEN
COULD NAME OR ARTICULATE UNTIL
WELL INTO MY 20s.
IT WASN'T UNTIL I REWOUND THE
OLD BETA TAPES IN MY HEAD TO
REALIZE I ACTUALLY SPENT A LOT
OF MY CHILDHOOD WANTING TO BE
LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, WHICH IS
WHAT LOTS OF YOUNG PEOPLE DO,
EXCEPT THAT WHEN WE COME FROM
MINORITY COMMUNITIES, THAT CAN
HAVE AN EXTRA LAYER ON IT.
AND FOR ME, THAT MEANT FITTING
IN MEANT ACTING LIKE EVERYBODY
ELSE AND BEING LIKE EVERYBODY
ELSE.
THAT MEANT MY SOUTH ASIAN
ETHNICITY, MY MUSLIM HERITAGE
THAT I WAS BROUGHT UP IN, ALL OF
THAT WAS STUFF I DIDN'T WANT
ANYTHING TO DO WITH.
I PUT IT TO THE SIDE.

Steve says WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

Shakil says I GREW UP
IN THE SMALL TOWN OF HANOVER,
ONTARIO.

Steve says I GUESS EVERYBODY IN
HANOVER WAS WHITE.

Shakil says PREDOMINANTLY.

Steve says PRETTY MUCH.
YOU WANTED TO BE LIKE THEM.

Shakil says THAT
EXPERIENCE IS STILL THERE TODAY
AND IT'S REALLY COMPLICATED BY
THAT HAPPENS BUT IT'S BOTH YOUNG
PEOPLE AND ADULTS THAT I MEET
THAT COME FROM NON-WHITE
BACKGROUNDS HAVE A VERY COMMON
EXPERIENCE WITH THAT IF THEY'VE
GROWN UP HERE.
AND IT ALMOST DOESN'T MATTER
WHERE YOU GROW UP BECAUSE OF THE
SOCIETY IN WHICH WE LIVE IN IS
PREDOMINANTLY WHITE.
THERE'S AN IMPACT TO THAT.

Steve says HOW OLD WHEN YOU
FIRST REALIZED, HMM, I ACTUALLY
AM NOT WHITE AND DON'T NEED TO
BE WHITE?

Shakil says I ALWAYS
KIND OF KNEW I WASN'T BUT I
DIDN'T ADMIT TO MYSELF.
IT PROBABLY WASN'T UNTIL MY
MID-20s I REALIZED I HAD THESE
SORT OF TENSIONS INSIDE OF
MYSELF THAT I'VE BEEN STRUGGLING
WITH FOR A LONG TIME.
I WASN'T ABLE TO NAME OR
ARTICULATE THOSE.
IT ISN'T SOMETHING THAT'S TALKED
ABOUT.

Steve says BECAUSE YOU LOOK SO
DAMN YOUNG, I'M GOING TO TELL
YOU YOUR MID-20s IS ACTUALLY
MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO.

Shakil says YES.

Steve says SO THEY CAN PUT IT
INTO A TIME AND PLACE.
ROBERT JENSEN IN HIS BOOK “THE
HEART OF WHITENESS” WRITES...

A quote appears on screen, under the title “No such thing.” The quote reads “Race is a fiction we must never accept. Race is a fact we must never forget.”
Quoted from Robert Jensen, “The heart of whiteness: confronting race, racism and white privilege” (2005).

Steve says WHAT DO YOU THINK HE
MEANS HERE?

Shakil says HE MEANS
TWO THINGS.
ONE IS THAT, FIRST OF ALL,
TECHNICALLY THERE'S ONLY ONE
RACE, THE HUMAN RACE, AND SO THE
FACT THAT WE TALK ABOUT WHITE,
BLACK, BROWN -- ALL OF THESE
DIFFERENT GROUPS -- THAT'S IN
FACT CONSTRUCTED BY SOCIETY.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WE'VE
BEEN SOCIALIZED INTO SEEING
DIFFERENT RACES, WHEN IN FACT
THERE'S JUST THE HUMAN RACE.
THAT'S WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT
ON THAT FRONT THAT IT'S A
FICTION, IN FACT.
THERE IS MORE COMMONALITIES,
GENETICALLY BETWEEN TWO
PEOPLE -- OR CAN BE BETWEEN TWO
PEOPLE, ONE WHO IDENTIFIES AS
WHITE AND ONE AS BLACK, AND YOU
CAN HAVE EVEN MORE VARIANCE
GENETICALLY BETWEEN TWO WHITE
PEOPLE OR TWO BLACK PEOPLE.
SO GENETICALLY, IT DOESN'T
REALLY MAKE SENSE.
IT ONLY MAKES SENSE SORT OF
SOCIALLY IN THE WAY THAT WE HAVE
COME TO UNDERSTAND IT.

Steve says IT'S INTERESTING,
YOU SAY THOSE WHO IDENTIFY AS
WHITE AND THOSE WHO IDENTIFY AS
BLACK RATHER THAN THOSE WHO ARE
WHITE OR ARE BLACK BECAUSE IT'S
MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT
NOWADAYS?

Shakil says OF COURSE
IT'S MORE COMPLICATED.
THERE'S A WAY IN WHICH WE CAN
IDENTIFY OURSELVES BUT THERE'S
ALSO A WAY IN WHICH WE GET
IDENTIFIED IN SOCIETY.
FOR EXAMPLE, HISTORICALLY, IF
YOU WERE IRISH AND IRISH AND
CATHOLIC, YOU WERE DISCRIMINATED
AGAINST.
YOU WERE NOT CONSIDERED WHITE.
WHITE WAS WHITE ANGLO SAXON
PROTESTANT.
JUST OVER TIME, MORE AND MORE
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ALLOWED INTO
THAT GROUP THAT'S CONSIDERED
WHITE, AND THAT INCLUDES, YOU
KNOW, GROUPS THAT HAVE BEEN
HISTORICALLY DISCRIMINATED
AGAINST, SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN,
ITALIAN, GREEK, PORTUGUESE ALSO
WERE NOT CONSIDERED WHITE FOR A
LONG TIME.
THEY ARE TODAY.
YOU KNOW, IF ONE IDENTIFIED AS
BEING JEWISH.
NOT CONSIDERED WHITE.
MORE SO TODAY.
BUT THEN THERE'S OTHER GROUPS
THAT HAVEN'T BEEN ALLOWED INTO
THAT CIRCLE AND THAT'S BECAUSE
VISIBLY THEY'RE TOO FAR AWAY
FROM BEING WHITE, AND THAT'S OF
COURSE ANYONE WHO IDENTIFIES AS
INDIGENOUS, PEOPLE WHO IDENTIFY
AS BLACK AND HAVE ROOTS MANY
GENERATIONS BACK AND SO ON AND
SO FORTH.

Steve says LET'S START TO
UNPACK SOME OF THE THEMES OF
YOUR BOOK AND SOME OF THE TERMS.
FOR EXAMPLE, IMPLICIT BIAS.
WHAT DO YOU REFER TO WHEN YOU
USE THAT TERM?

Shakil says IMPLICIT
BIAS, WHAT THE RESEARCH SHOWS
AND REFERS TO IS AN UNCONSCIOUS
FORM OF PREJUDICE THAT IMPACTS
OUR DECISIONS AUTOMATICALLY,
QUICKLY, AND WITHOUT OUR
AWARENESS.
JUST TO ILLUSTRATE WHAT I MEAN
BY THAT.
I WAS IN AN OPTOMETRIST'S STORE
GETTING NEW EYEGLASSES AND I
NEEDED TO UPDATE MY PRESCRIPTION
AND THE PERSON BEHIND THE DESK
SAID, WELL, HERE'S A LOCAL
OPTOMETRIST THAT YOU CAN GO TO
GET YOUR EYES TESTED.
I'M SORRY, I WAS AT AN EYE GLASS
STORE.
AND SO HERE'S SOMEONE WE
RECOMMEND AND HE HANDED TO ME A
BUSINESS CARD.
I LOOKED AT THE BUSINESS CARD
AND IT SAID ABDISO KANFAR.
AND IN MY HEAD, AN AUTOMATIC
IMAGE APPEARED BASED ON THIS
FOREIGN-SOUNDING NAME: AN OLDER
MAN, NOT PARTICULARLY GOOD WITH
ENGLISH, AND MUSTY OLD OFFICE
SOMEWHERE, AND I HESITATED.
AND I INITIALLY WAS A LITTLE
RELUCTANT TO MAKE THAT CALL.
EVENTUALLY, OF COURSE, I DID.
NOW, HERE'S THE THING WITH THAT.
IS THAT I KNOW ABSOLUTELY THAT
HAD THAT CARD THAT WAS HANDED TO
ME, IF IT SAID ELLEN GOLDSTEIN,
JACK WRIGHT, OR ANY OTHER
ANGLO-SOUNDING NAME, I WOULDN'T
HAVE HESITATED.
IT'S MY HESITATION ON THE ISSUE.
AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IS
IDENTIFIED AS OUR IMPLICIT BIAS,
MY IMPLICIT BIAS.

Steve says WHERE DO YOU THINK
IT COMES FROM?

Shakil says IS COMES
FROM SOCIALIZATION IN SOCIETY,
AND IT'S OF COURSE INTERESTING
TOO BECAUSE MY NAME, SHAKIL
CHOUDHURY, WOULD BE CONSIDERED
FOREIGN BY MANY OTHER PEOPLE,
AND YET I'M ALSO IMPACTED BY
THAT BECAUSE WE'RE IN THE SAME
SOCIETY, SAME NORMS ARE AT PLAY.
WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO
RECOGNIZE IS OUR IMPLICIT BIAS,
IF WE ARE NOT ABLE TO DETECT IT,
IF WE'RE NOT ABLE TO CATCH IT
EARLY WHEN THE COSTS ARE LOW --
IN THIS CASE, THE COST WAS
PERSONAL EMBARRASSMENT.
IN FACT, I'M SHARING IT WITH
YOU.
THEN UNDER STRESS AND TIME
PRESSURES, THE CONSEQUENCES MAY
BE GREATER.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, I'M A DOCTOR,
AND I DON'T KNOW THAT MY BIASES
ARE AT PLAY AT THIS UNCONSCIOUS
LEVEL, THEN I MAY UNDERTREAT
PATIENTS, WHICH IS WHAT A LOT OF
THE RESEARCH SHOWED.
IF I'M A POLICE OFFICER AND I
HAVEN'T RECOGNIZED THAT I'VE GOT
BIASES TOWARD CERTAIN GROUPS OF
PEOPLE, I MAY USE EXCESSIVE
FORCE AND THEN TRAGEDIES, AS
WE'RE SEEING SOUTH OF THE
BORDER, BECAUSE POLICE OFFICERS
ARE SEEING, BECAUSE THERE ARE
STEREOTYPES, THREATS AND DANGER
WHERE THERE ISN'T ANY.

Steve says FIRST, GOOD FOR YOU
TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS.
EVERYBODY'S GOT IT.
IT'S NOT SILLY ADMITTING TO IT.
YOU'RE JUST ADMITTING YOU'RE A
HUMAN BEING.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says WHAT'S INTERESTING
IS WE MAY HAVE THOUGHT THIS IS A
THING THAT ONLY THE MAJORITY IN
SOCIETY COULD SUFFER FROM, THAT
ONLY WHITE ANGLO SAXON MALE
COULD SUFFER FROM IMPLICIT BIAS.
YOU ARE NOT PART OF THAT WORLD,
AND YET YOU SUFFER FROM IT AS
WELL.
IS THAT A REVELATION, THAT
PEOPLE WHO REPRESENT MINORITY
GROUPS CAN ALSO SUFFER FROM THIS?

Shakil says IT WAS
WHEN I FIRST STARTED DOING THIS
WORK AND REALIZING THAT THIS IS
WHAT THE RESEARCH SHOWS, AND IN
FACT, AGAIN, THIS ISN'T WHAT WE
SAY ABOUT OURSELVES CONSCIOUSLY,
IT'S ABOUT HOW WE FEEL AND REACT
UNCONSCIOUSLY, AND ABSOLUTELY
THE DATA THAT'S COMING OUT OF
WORK FROM PROJECT IMPLICIT BASED
OUT OF HARVARD SAYS THAT
BASICALLY, FOR EXAMPLE --

Steve says I'VE GOT A CLIP ON THIS.

Shakil says YOU DO?
SINCE YOU'VE HIT ON IT, LET'S
PLACE IT RIGHT NOW.

Shakil says YEAH, SURE.

Steve says THE IMPLICIT
ASSOCIATION TEST DEVELOPED BY A
COUPLE OF HARVARD RESEARCHERS
YOU JUST REFERRED TO, THIS IS
GOING BACK TO THE '90s, APRIL
APRIL 2007 NBC DATELINE
BROADCAST A STORY ON THIS TEST.
THIS IS THE CLIP.
LET'S ROLL IT, PLEASE.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Implicit association tests. April 15, 2007."
In the clip, a computer screen shows pictures of faces in two boxes that read “Left for bad, right for good.”

A female voice says ONCE AGAIN ON THE PART OF THE
TEST WHICH ASSOCIATES BLACK WITH
GOOD AND WHITE WITH BAD, A WHITE
TEST-TAKER FLOUNDERS.

A white woman in her forties performing the test as a part of a group of about 6 people smiles and stops.

A male voice says YOU HALTED ALMOST TO THE END.

The female voice says BETSY'S TEST SHOWS A
PREFERENCE FOR WHITE.

She appears during an interview with a couple and says
THERE WOULD BE MANY PEOPLE
WHO WOULD SAY, WHAT'S WRONG WITH
SHOWING A PREFERENCE FOR YOUR
OWN RACE?

A man in his fifties says IN SOME CONTEXTS, IT'S
ACTUALLY ILLEGAL TO DO SO.
IN EMPLOYMENT CONTEXTS, IN
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS.

The woman narrates
DENNIS IS THE LEADER OF A
CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION.
ACCORDING TO HIS TEST IN THE
STUDIO, DENNIS IS NEUTRAL.
BUT THIS INDIVIDUAL COMPUTER
TEST SHOWED A PREFERENCE FOR
WHITE.
HIS RESPONSE...

Sitting with the group, Dennis says
ALL WE HAD IN IMAGES WERE
WHITE THROUGH THE TYPE OF MEDIA
OUTLETS THAT WE WERE EXPOSED TO
DURING MY AGE GENERATION, AND
THAT WAS A CONSTANT
REINFORCEMENT OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

The clip ends.

Steve says FASCINATING.
GETTING BACK TO THE QUESTION I
ASKED EARLIER: HOW COMMON IS IT
THAT, SAY, BLACKS HAVE AN
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS TOWARDS WHITES
AND AWAY FROM BLACKS?

Shakil says SO AT
LEAST ACCORDING TO THE DATA WHEN
WE LOOK AT LOTS OF THESE THINGS
OF META ANALYSIS IS THAT I'VE
READ UP TO 50 percent OF BLACK PEOPLE
HAVE A PRO-WHITE, ANTI-BLACK
BIAS.
70 percent OF WHITES, LATINOS, AND
ASIAN-AMERICANS --
ASIAN-CANADIANS AS WELL, HAVE A
PRO-WHITE, ANTIBLACK BIAS.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT AFFECTS
US.
AGAIN, BOTH CONSCIOUSLY AND
UNCONSCIOUSLY.
AND UNCONSCIOUSLY IS WHERE WE'RE
HAVING TO DEAL WITH IT IN
SOCIETY TODAY BECAUSE THAT'S
WHAT RESULTS IN SYSTEMIC
DISCRIMINATION AND RACISM THAT
IS PERSUASIVE, BUT IT'S SO
SUBTLE AND HARD TO DETECT
BECAUSE THE VAST MAJORITY OF
SOCIETY WE SEE OURSELVES AS
WELL-INTENTIONED, THOUGHTFUL,
AND PEOPLE CARE ABOUT FAIRNESS
AND JUSTICE AND THAT'S TRUE, AND
YET THE GAPS EXIST IN ALL
ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS
AND A BIG PART OF IT IS THE FACT
WE JUST DON'T KNOW THERE'S
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS AT PLAY.

Steve says OKAY.
YOU HAVE POINTED OUT ALREADY
THAT SOCIALIZATION IS MUCH OF
THE EXPLANATION BEHIND THIS.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says AND YET I'M GOING TO
READ A QUOTE FROM YOUR BOOK
WHERE WE TALK ABOUT BRAINS --
YOU TALK ABOUT THE EVOLUTION IN
OUR BRAINS.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says LET'S DO THAT.

A quote appears on screen, under the title “Threat detection.” The quote reads “A perceived threat by the amygdala can set off the body’s fight-flight-freeze mechanism. The automatic response easily overpowers the thinking part of our brain. In this state we become very reactive. This can work in our favour and help us, for example, jump out of harm’s way (from a snake, say). But it also has drawbacks. For example, the amygdala can misfire when we interact with those who are different from us. It has been shown to be activated when we relate to those of a different race. We don’t seem to have an equally strong automated response mechanism for positive inputs. The result is a tendency to judge members of other racial groups unfairly.”
Quoted from Shakil Choudhury, “Deep diversity” (2015).

Steve says SO CAN IMPLICIT BIAS
TRAINING SUBVERT EVOLUTION IN
ORDER TO OVERCOME THE RACISM
YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT?

The caption changes to "On the origin of biases."

Shakil says IT'S SUCH
A GOOD QUESTION.
I WOULD SAY THAT -- SO ONE IS
THAT THE RESEARCH IS SHOWING
THAT WE HAVE A HARDWARE IN
PLACE, HARDWARE IN PLACE TO
BASICALLY DEFINE TRIBE, DEFINE
WHO IS PART OF OUR GROUP, WHO IS
PART OF OUR IN GROUP, AND THAT
HAPPENS AT UNDER 12 MONTHS OF
AGE WE'RE FINDING BABIES ARE
MORE REACTIVE TO PEOPLE WHO
SHARE THE SAME RACE AS THEIR
CAREGIVERS, THE SAME GENDER AS
THEIR CAREGIVERS, THE SAME
LANGUAGE AND ACCENT GROUP AS
THEIR CAREGIVERS.
IT'S REALLY, REALLY YOUNG WE
HAVE THIS ABILITY.
NOW, WHO THAT -- WHO THE US AND
THEM IS, WHO MY TRIBE IS, THAT'S
ALSO SOCIALIZATION, AND WHAT'S
IMPORTANT TO RECOGNITION IS THAT
WE'VE BEEN ACTUALLY -- WE CAN'T
CHANGE THE HARDWARE SO MUCH, BUT
WE CAN CHANGE THE SOFTWARE.
WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO CHANGE THE
SOFTWARE FOR GENERATIONS.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE -- AND
SUCCESSFULLY SO.
FOR EXAMPLE, ANTI-SLAVERY
MOVEMENTS.
WERE TRYING TO CHANGE THE
SOFTWARE.
WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE --

Steve says YOU DON'T WANT TO
CHANGE ALL THE HARDWARE EITHER,
RIGHT?
YOU DO WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU
KNOW THAT SNAKE AND WON'T GET
BIT.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.
WE KEEP EVOLVING THE SOFTWARE.
CIVIL RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
HAVE BEEN EVOLVING THE SOFTWARE
AND RIGHT NOW WE'RE AT A STAGE
WHERE WE'RE RECOGNIZING HOW
UNCONSCIOUS THINGS ARE, AND I
THINK THAT IS THE NEXT ELEMENT,
THE 2.0 THAT WE'RE NEEDING TO
EVOLVE SOCIALLY TO HELP US
ADVANCE, AND I THINK THAT
THAT'S -- SO THERE'S HOPE, IS
WHAT I WOULD SAY.

Steve says HAVING SAID THAT,
ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT THERE
WILL BE AN ATTEMPT BY SOME
PEOPLE TO USE THE RACIAL BIASES
BUILT INTO US SINCE EVOLUTIONARY
TIMES AS A JUSTIFICATION FOR
THEIR RACISM?

Shakil says SOME
PEOPLE WILL, SURE.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE
WON'T.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE THAT
I WORK WITH -- AND I WORK WITH
ORGANIZATIONS, AND I'VE BEEN
DOING SO FOR 20 YEARS, WORKING
WITH PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS,
AND WHAT I FIND IS PEOPLE BECOME
VERY RELIEVED, THEY'RE LIKE, OH,
REALLY?
YOU MEAN ALL OF US ARE IMPACTED
BY THIS?
AND SO PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY MORE
WILLING TO TALK ABOUT BIAS AND
PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION
TODAY IN A WAY THAT THEY WEREN'T
EVEN 5 OR 10 YEARS AGO.

Steve says IS THERE ANYTHING
THAT'S HAPPENED IN THE 2015
CANADIAN ELECTION THAT HAS MADE
YOU RECONSIDER ANY OF WHAT
YOU'VE JUST SAID?

Shakil laughs and says
IT'S SUCH A GREAT POINT.
OBVIOUSLY ISSUES LIKE THE NIQAB
HAVE EVOKED A DEEPLY EMOTIONAL
RESPONSE IN PEOPLE.
AND HERE'S THE THING, IS THAT
WHAT THE RESEARCH SHOWS IS THAT
PEOPLE WE BELIEVE TO BE PART OF
OUR OUT GROUPS, PEOPLE WE
PERCEIVE TO BE RACIALLY
DIFFERENT THAN US, WE REGISTER
THEM MORE, OUR BRAIN REGISTERS
THEM MORE AS OBJECTS RATHER THAN
PEOPLE.
SO AS A RESULT, MISTREATING
PEOPLE, NOT BEING MORE HARSHER
ON THEM, ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF
PLAYS OUT.
NOW, WHEN THE ISSUE OF NIQAB,
THE WAY IT'S BEEN RAISED BY THE
CANADIAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT,
WHICH TO ME I THINK IS
OUTRAGEOUSLY IRRESPONSIBLE, IS
ACTUALLY EVOKING ALL OF THAT.
WHETHER THEY KNOW THE SCIENCE OR
NOT, THEY INTUITIVELY KNOW THIS
WILL EVOKE A REACTION FROM ALL
OF US.
WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE IS
WE WILL FALL PREY TO OUR BIASES
UNLESS WE ACTUALLY ARE AWARE
THAT THAT TENDENCY IS THERE,
THAT TENDENCY TO GO US-THEM IS
VERY, VERY QUICK.
IT'S AUTOMATIC.
BUT WE GO, ACTUALLY, THIS MAY
HAPPEN TO ME.
I'M HUMAN, I'M LIKE EVERYBODY
ELSE.
WHO IS TRYING TO MANIPULATE ME
AND WHY AND FOR WHAT GAIN?
I REALLY INVITE PEOPLE TO LOOK
AT THAT AND SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT?
FOR THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WE'RE
LOOKING AT HERE, TWO WOMEN HAVE
REQUIRED THIS ACCOMMODATION,
WHICH IS A TOTALLY LEGITIMATE
ACCOMMODATION IN THE 4 YEARS
IT'S BEEN ENACTED AS THIS
STRANGE, BIZARRE LAW.
HOWEVER, THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO
TALK ABOUT THAT BUT NOT ABOUT
THE 1200 MURDERED AND MISSING
ABORIGINAL WOMEN, TO ME, THAT
NOT JUST SMELLS OF POLITICS, IT
SMELLS OF PREJUDICE AND RACISM.

Steve says OKAY.
LET'S TURN THE CAMERAS AROUND AT
YOU THEN.

Shakil says YEAH.

Steve says BECAUSE YOU WENT
THROUGH THIS, RIGHT?
2007 YOU DID THE IMPLICIT
ASSOCIATION TEST.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says SO YOU PUT THE
FOCUS, YOU PUT THE SPOTLIGHT ON
YOURSELF.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says TO FIND OUT ABOUT
YOUR OWN BIASES.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says WHAT DID YOU FIND OUT?

Shakil says SOMETHING
VERY SHOCKING.
WHEN I LOOKED AT THE TEST, RACE,
WHITE AND BLACK, THAT I HAD A
MODERATE PRO-WHITE, WHICH MEANT
I HAD AN ANTI-BLACK BIAS.

Steve says LET ME STOP YOU THERE.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says DOES IT MEAN IF
YOU'VE CAUGHT YOURSELF IN A
PRO-WHITE THINKING, IS THAT
NECESSARILY ANTI-BLACK?

Shakil says IT IS.
IT IS.
ACCORDING TO THIS TEST, IT IS,
RIGHT?
IN TERMS OF THAT, BECAUSE WE'RE
COMPARING BLACK AND WHITE.
SO IF YOU'RE PRO-WHITE, YOU'RE
GOING TO BE ANTI-BLACK.
THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT COMES OUT
AS NEUTRAL.
YOU CAN HAVE A READING THAT'S
NEUTRAL TOO, WHICH MEANS YOU'RE
ACTUALLY ABLE TO -- YOUR BIAS IS
NEITHER FOR OR AGAINST.
BUT IF YOU'RE PRO-WHITE, IT DOES
MEAN YOU'RE ANTI-BLACK IN TERMS
OF THE UNCONSCIOUS LEVEL.
IT DOESN'T MEAN IT'S WHAT WE'RE
THINKING OR BELIEVING OR THIS IS
HOW I TREAT PEOPLE NECESSARILY,
BUT IT DOES REVEAL AT THIS
UNCONSCIOUS PROCESSING LEVEL
THAT IF PUSH COMES TO SHOVE I
MAY REACT IN A PARTICULAR WAY.
SO FOR ME I DISCOVERED THAT AND
I WAS SHOCKED.
THIS IS MY WORK.
THIS IS MY LIFE'S WORK.
AND SO ONE OF MY THINGS BESIDES
RECONSIDERING WHAT I'M DOING AS
A CAREER WAS TO THEN START
LOOKING AT, WELL, CAN WE DO
ANYTHING ABOUT THIS?
CAN WE CHANGE THIS?
AND RIGHT NOW THERE ARE SOME
STRATEGIES THAT ARE EMERGING
THAT ARE PROMISING STRATEGIES --

Steve says BEFORE YOU GET
THERE.
DON'T GO THERE YET.
I HAVE A FEW MORE THINGS I WANT
TO GET TO FIRST.
DOES THAT MEAN IF I LOVE THE
LEAFS I NECESSARILY HATE THE
CANADIANS?

Shakil says NOT
NECESSARILY, BUT SOME PEOPLE DO.

Steve says I'D BE ONE OF THEM.

[Laughter]

Steve says A SUBWAY COMMUTE.

Shakil says THAT'S
RIGHT.

Steve says TELL US HOW THAT
PLAYS INTO ALL OF THIS.

Shakil says RIGHT.
WHAT I WAS SAYING IS I WAS
DISTRESSED TRYING TO FIGURE OUT,
I'VE GOT THIS ANTI-BLACK BIAS.
ON ONE LEVEL THAT KIND OF MAKES
SENSE.
AS I TOLD YOU, I GREW UP WANTING
TO BE WHITE.
THE FACT I'M PRO-WHITE MAKES
SENSE.

Steve says USUAL SOCIALIZED
THAT WAY.

Shakil says IN FACT
THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN
SOCIETY WOULD HAVE A PRO-WHITE
BIAS.
I CAME ACROSS RESEARCH THAT WAS
INTERESTING.
COUNTER STEREOTYPES.
THE IDEA WE CAN RELEARN THINGS
AND REPROGRAM OUR BRAIN A LITTLE
BIT.
SO RIGHT NOW THE STEREOTYPE THAT
MANY OF US ARE WORKING WITH IN
SOCIETY, WHICH IS AN ANTI-BLACK
STEREOTYPE, ASSOCIATES BLACK
WITH DANGEROUS, BLACK WITH
CRIMINALITY.
AND THAT BECOMES A SHORT CUT IN
OUR BRAIN, A HEURISTIC.
WE CAN TURN IT AROUND AND SAY IT
REQUIRES CONSCIOUS EFFORT AND
AWARENESS.
WHAT I DID IS I BASICALLY
LEARNED THAT WE CAN USE COUNTER
STEREOTYPES AND I APPLIED THEM.
THIS IS WHAT THE RESEARCH SHOWS
AND I DID IT IN MY PRACTICE.
ANY TIME I'M IN A SUBWAY CAR AND
I SAW -- I WAS AROUND PEOPLE WHO
WERE BLACK, I WOULD BASICALLY
CLOSE MY EYES AND IN MY HEAD
CREATE AN IMAGE AND JUST START
CREATING POSITIVE ASSOCIATIONS.
SO I WOULD SAY, BLACK, ENGINEER,
HARD-WORKING, GENEROUS,
PROFESSOR, AND I WOULD JUST
REPEAT THIS.
AND IF I HAD THREE OR FOUR
PEOPLE, I WOULD USE THAT -- I
WOULD USE THAT ACTIVITY TO LEARN
A NEW NEURAL PATTERN.
ABOUT 5 YEARS LATER AS I WAS
WRITING THIS BOOK, I WENT BACK
AND REDID THE TEST, AND THIS
TEST IS PRETTY CONSISTENT.
YOU DO IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN,
YOU GET MORE OR LESS THE SAME
RESULTS BECAUSE IT'S A SPEED
TEST AT THIS UNCONSCIOUS LEVEL.
WHAT I FOUND IS MY LEVEL OF BIAS
HAD REDUCED TO AS LOW OR NO
LEVEL OF BIAS.

Steve says SO YOU TRAINED
YOURSELF TO HAVE LESS IMPLICIT
BIAS?

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.
NOW, THIS IS ONE OF THE
STRATEGIES THAT WE CAN
IMPLEMENT, AND THE CONCERN THAT
RESEARCHERS HAVE IS THAT IT'S
KIND OF ELASTIC.
IF WE DO IT, HOW LONG WILL IT
STAY?
SO FAR THAT'S STILL AN AREA OF
RESEARCH THAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING
AT AND THE BEST RESEARCH I'VE
SEEN SO FAR IS THAT, YOU KNOW,
BY DOING ANTIBIAS TRAINING, THAT
IT CAN HAVE AN IMPACT.
SO THERE ARE PROMISING RESULTS,
RESULTS THAT LAST, YOU KNOW, AT
LEAST THREE MONTHS OR BEYOND,
AND SO IT'S A NEW AREA OF
RESEARCH AND WE DON'T HAVE THE
ANSWERS TO YET, BUT THERE ARE
SOME PROMISING STRATEGIES FOR
SURE.

Steve says I WANT TO ASK YOU
ABOUT SOMEONE NAMED FRANCINE LE MAY.
WHO IS SHE?

The caption changes to "Two examples."

Shakil says FRANCINE
LE MAY IS THE SISTER OF MARCEL
LE MAY AND HE WAS A POLICE
OFFICER THAT WAS SHOT AT THE OKA
CRISIS.

Steve says TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO.

Shakil says THAT'S RIGHT.
AND I TALK ABOUT HER IN MY BOOK
BECAUSE SOMETIMES THE IMPACTS OF
RACISM, SOMETIMES THE IMPACT OF
DISCRIMINATION AND HATE CAN
RESULT IN TRAGEDIES, AND IN THIS
CASE, BECAUSE OF THIS
CONFRONTATION BETWEEN INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO PROTECT
THEIR LAND AND THE POLICE FORCE
AND THE TOWN, THAT THERE WAS A
TRAGEDY AND A POLICE OFFICER
DIED.
NO ONE EVER DETERMINED WHERE
THAT CAME FROM, BUT THAT'S
SEPARATE TO THE STORY.
FRANCINE LE MAY, SHE BASICALLY
WAS ASKED MANY YEARS AFTERWARDS,
YOU KNOW, HOW SHE FELT ABOUT
THIS CRISIS.
AND WITHOUT ANY TRAINING IN
ANTIBIAS, ALL THIS KIND OF
STUFF, SHE ACTUALLY PAUSED AND
WHEN SHE WAS ASKED THIS
QUESTION, SHE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO
ANSWER IT, SO SHE WENT AND
STARTED EDUCATING HERSELF.
HOW DOES SHE FEEL ABOUT THE OKA
CRISIS.
SHE WAS EMBARRASSED BECAUSE SHE
DIDN'T REALLY HAVE AN OPINION
EVEN THOUGH HER BROTHER HAD
DIED.
AS SHE STARTED LOOKING AT SOME
OF THE WORK, SHE REALIZED THE
INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF RACISM MAY
HAVE HAD BY THE MOHAWK -- FACED
BY THE MOHAWK PEOPLE IN OKA
HISTORICALLY AS WELL AS
CONTEMPORARY TIMES.
SHE REALIZED SHE HAD NEVER KNOWN
THAT PART OF THE STORY.
SHE STARTED EDUCATING HERSELF
AND BUILT RELATIONSHIPS AND
CONNECTIONS WITH THAT COMMUNITY,
AND SHE DID THAT BECAUSE SHE HAD
A REALLY GENEROUS SPIRIT, IS HOW
I WOULD READ IT, AND, TWO,
BECAUSE SHE PAUSED.
SHE DIDN'T JUST REACT.
AND A LOT OF US JUST REACT.
AND SO I USED HER STORY AS AN
EXAMPLE OF WHAT WHITE PEOPLE CAN
ALSO DO IN THIS CONVERSATION
AROUND RACISM EVEN WHEN THE
STAKES ARE HIGH.
SHE LOST A BROTHER'S LIFE IN
SOMETHING SHE WOULD HAVE A LOT
OF REASON TO DISLIKE NATIVE
PEOPLE.
AND I ALSO SHARE A STORY TOO
WHERE I TALK ABOUT AN INDIGENOUS
ELDER I MET FROM GRASSY NARROWS
AND THE CRISIS OF HIS LIFE AND
THE TRAGEDIES HE FACED AND HOW
HE WAS ALSO ABLE TO WORK THROUGH
THAT AS AN EXAMPLE OF WHERE
NON-WHITE PEOPLE, INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE, RACIAL MINORITIES, ALSO
HAVE A DIFFERENT PATH.
SOME OF OUR PATH IS TOGETHER
BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE UNCONSCIOUS
BIAS.
BUT IN LOOKING AT ISSUES OF RACE
AND DIFFERENCE, SOME OF OUR PAST
IS DIFFERENT AND WE NEED TO WORK
WITH THAT AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT.

Steve says I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S
TOO EARLY TO COME TO ANY
LONG-TERM CONCLUSIONS OR
UNDERSTAND THE RAMIFICATIONS OF
WHAT FRANCINE LE MAY DID.
DO WE KNOW THAT YET, WHAT THE
LONG-TERM POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES,
OR NEGATIVE FOR THAT MATTER, OF
WHAT SHE TRIED?

Shakil says WHAT SHE
TRIED TO DO WHICH IS REALLY
IMPORTANT, ONCE SHE LEARNED THIS
HISTORY AND REALIZED SHE DIDN'T
KNOW ANY OF THIS HISTORY AND SHE
BUILT THIS CONNECTION WITH THE
MOHAWKS OF OKA, AS HER WAY OF
GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY,
SHE ACTUALLY TRANSLATED THIS
HISTORY OF THE MOHAWK PEOPLE
FROM OKA THAT WAS ONLY AVAILABLE
IN FRENCH AND IT WAS A
SELF-PUBLISHED THING.
SHE TRANSLATED IT BECAUSE SHE'S
A TRANSLATOR BY PROFESSION.
AND TO ME, THAT'S A GREAT ACT OF
TRYING TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE
BECAUSE SHE BASICALLY SAID, I'M
REALIZING THAT MY FRIENDS ALSO
CARRY THESE STEREOTYPES, MY
FAMILY CARRY THESE STEREOTYPES.
HERE'S WHAT I CAN DO TO AFFECT
THAT.
I CAN TAKE THIS HISTORY THAT'S
WRITTEN BY THE MOHAWK PEOPLE
ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES, NOT
HISTORY WRITTEN BY SOMEONE ELSE
LOOKING IN, AND TRANSLATE THAT
AND HELP OUT.
I DON'T KNOW THE LONG-TERM
CONSEQUENCES OF THAT, BUT TO ME
I'D SAY THAT THAT'S A REALLY
IMPORTANT ACT BECAUSE SOMETIMES
THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE THAT
WE CAN INFLUENCE, SOMETIMES THE
ONLY PEOPLE WE CAN INFLUENCE
BESIDES OURSELVES ARE THE PEOPLE
CLOSEST TO US.
I THINK THAT'S WHAT SHE WAS
DOING.
I THINK THAT'S AN IMPORTANT
THING.

Steve says SHAKIL, THE LAST
THING HERE, WE KNOW THE GOLDEN
RULE, DO UNTO OTHERS AS THEY
WOULD DO UNTO YOU.
WHAT'S THE PLATINUM ISSUE?

Shakil says THE
PLATINUM ISSUE IN TERMS OF
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION, TO
TREAT PEOPLE HOW THEY WOULD LIKE
TO BE TREATED.
WHICH IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT.
WHICH MEANS SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO
ADAPT.
THAT'S A RULE THAT I THINK IS
REALLY IMPORTANT.

Steve says A LITTLE BIT OF A
SPIN ON THE GOLDEN RULE.

Shakil says THAT'S
RIGHT.

Steve says PLATINUM IS WORTH
MORE THAN GOLD, RIGHT?
YOU THINK THIS IS A BETTER RULE.

The caption changes to "tvo.org"

Shakil says THIS IS
GENERALLY ACCEPTED AS A BETTER
RULE BECAUSE IT ALLOWS US NOT TO
TREAT EVERYBODY EQUALLY BECAUSE
SOMETIMES TREATING EVERYBODY THE
SAME IS NOT TREATING THEM
FAIRLY, THAT WE TREAT PEOPLE
ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS.
EVERYONE DOESN'T NEED TWO
SANDWICHES.
SOME PEOPLE ONLY NEED A HALF,
SOME PEOPLE NEED SIX, BECAUSE
THAT'S WHAT THEIR NEEDS ARE.
OUR IDEA IS WE WORK WITH PEOPLE
WHERE THEY ARE, AND THAT'S
REALLY WHAT DEMOCRACY IS ABOUT,
IS HELPING PEOPLE FROM THE
MARGINS WHO ARE SOMETIMES LEFT
OUT TO BE PART OF THE CENTRE AND
THAT SOMETIMES MEANS WE NEED
MORE IN SOME AREAS AND LESS IN
OTHERS.

The caption changes to "Produced by Gregg Thrulbeck, @greggthurlbeck"

Steve says THANKS, SHAKIL.
DEEP DIVERSITY, OVERCOMING US
VERSUS THEM.
SHAKIL CHOUDHURY.
GREAT HAVING YOU BACK AT TVO.

Shakil says THANKS, STEVE.

Watch: Diversity: Not So Black and White