Recently the topic of racism has come up frequently in my sessions with clients, which obviously is reflective of what’s going on in our society. There is a lot going on right now in our country related to this topic, and whether you feel impacted by issues related to race or not, we all live in the same society.
“Fish did not discover the water. In fact, because they are completely immersed in it, they live unaware of its existence. Similarly, when a conduct is normalized by a dominant cultural environment, it becomes invisible.”
Within our society, our cultures, religions, and experiences differ; nonetheless, we all have been impacted by these societal challenges and struggles. I have seen how prejudice and discrimination seep into people’s lives without their awareness.
Sometimes they are the ones that are targeted through microaggressions, or sometimes they are complicit in supporting prejudicial and racist ideas without any awareness. I say this because we all have our own biases that we are not aware of.
Richard Schwartz, the developer of Internal Family Systems Therapy, discussed in his book of the same name that in our culture, we have been marinated with ideas that support many of the issues our society is confronted with and don’t even realize it.
I feel that it is important for each of us to be able to look at ourselves in a nonjudgmental, compassionate, and open-minded way in order to truly understand those parts of ourselves that we may not be aware of and how they impact us, the people around us, and the world as a whole.
When I was younger, I struggled with seeing the world as black or white, good or bad. As I got older and did work to address my internal struggles that shaped my views, I came to realize that the world and people are much more complicated than that.
Just like the issues of prejudice, racism, heterosexism, transphobia, and intolerance are much more complicated and multifaceted than we may acknowledge. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all hold biases and pretending they do not exist does not help ourselves or our society.