the ocean isn't safe
a riff on unconscious bias
One occasion, after a surf session, while changing from my wet suit, I encountered a concerned citizen.
They quickly informed me that what I was doing was dangerous. And that I should not have been in the water.
Completely safe, satisfied - glowing in fact - from the fun I just had in playful, small-ish waves, I laughed it off.
These non surfers had an unconscious bias and lack of experience about the ocean.
When my daughter was a baby, she refused to wear things to cover her hands - even in the coldest of weather. While walking around the streets of Leslieville, I regularly encountered scorn and derision from Grandmother aged women who insisted I was abusing my daughter.
This I didn’t laugh off so easily.
These critics didn’t see the lead up to the glovelessness.
These critics had a limited field of experience.
They saw a young man with a baby and decided he didn’t know what he didn’t know what he was doing.
Their unconscious bias hurt.
This weekend, I encountered another one of these critics.
She’s a childless woman who felt entitled to comment on my parenting.
Her unconscious bias towards me was almost as apparent as her lack of experience and knowledge in the matter. She was likely reacting to my agitation. A nervous system reacting to a nervous system, then a brain creating a story chock a block full of unconscious bias.
Unconscious biases are everywhere - especially in those who like to appear righteous much of the time.
(a little bit of my bias there)
Look both ways.
The cars might not be as forgiving as I am.