On the weekend I was reminded of a great quote by Mark Twain:
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Although I would argue that what we don’t know can get us into trouble, the second half is particularly insightful when talking about diversity and inclusion.
Think about it:
What do we think we know for sure about people who are “not like us” that we then use as truth to interpret and judge their behaviour – and to determine our behaviour, decisions and language towards them?
“What we know for sure that just ain’t so” is about unconscious bias.
And the tricky thing about unconscious bias is the unconscious part.
Notice Mark Twain didn’t say it’s what you think you know for sure that just ain’t so, he said it’s what you KNOW for sure.
Sadly, if we know it for sure, we’re not likely to check to see if we are correct.
What do you “know for sure” about someone in your office, gym, class, neighbourhood, family, household, etc. And how might it be getting you into trouble?