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Blind Spots, Bias, and Bigotry

We all have biases, and often without being aware of it. Unconscious prejudices, while they aren’t as combative as out-right bigotry, become blind spots that take away our ability to truly see those around us, to recognize and respect them as individuals.

It is unlikely Evy would consider herself prejudiced or homophobic. But as the audience, we can see her biases clearly. She describes the type of relationship she wants Jesse to have, a relationship with “someone who will support you unconditionally, someone who will forgive you when you are wrong, someone who will expect the best of you… someone who has a good and moral heart, who honors and loves you just as you are.” She doesn’t realize that her bias against homosexuality is preventing her from seeing that Jesse already has exactly that kind of relationship with Kristian.

RONNIE: “When you talk that way about white people you’re talking about me.”
TONY: "But I don’t see you that way.”
Immediate Family

Tony is the kind of person that gets along with everyone. But in an argument with Jesse, he makes generalizations about white people that Ronnie overhears and is hurt by. She reminds him that she’s biracial, and to be more thoughtful, saying, “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY. THINK.”

Like Evy and Tony, many of us are operating with unconscious biases about race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, class or political beliefs. Can we, like the characters we meet in Immediate Family, start to acknowledge our own biases, and work to change them? How can we do that within our own families? In our community? In our nation?

In a country with so much diversity, how do we talk about and accept our differences? How do we get to a place where no one has to hide any part of his or her identity? How can we make our differences into our greatest strengths?

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