Unconscious bias is real.
Perhaps that’s a Captain Obvious thing to suggest right now, coming off a month of passionate protests and a few years of watching the Divided States of America.
Almost 20 years ago Rodney King spouted, “can’t we all just get along.” And here we are today still trying to understand one another.
Then again, are White people really putting in the time to step into the shoes of another to truly comprehend what life might be like for someone who is Black?
Until a few weeks back, it was fair to say, “why would I?”
I can’t think of a time where I saw the police as anything but a safe haven.
I can’t think of a moment where I felt threatened to go out for a jog.
I can’t think of an American President who knowingly divided the people of the country he serves.
We’ve been divided long enough, no?
After the death of George Floyd, like many, I was up in arms.
In my attempt to do something about it, I turned to my talented, creative Black friend Derek Walker. If you know Derek, you know he’s not the type to sugarcoat; which is what I desperately wanted. Our conversations went from me listening to me trying to process what life is truly like for Derek at times.
Over a week of back-and-forth banter, we started to challenge each other in the right way to treat race relations like a strategic brief. Anyone who has worked in advertising knows what this looks like; it became our abided contract.
Could we create a website that showed the unconscious biases that white people and black people have in America? If we can start to see our biases, then we can choose to accept them for the purposes of creating empathy, understanding and progress.
What started out as a behind-the-curtain discussion turned into 7 companies coming together to build a 10 question experiment-of-a-website called itsblackandwhite.us. The idea came from a true collection of like-minded people who looked nothing like one another. That included leaders from Brown & Browner, Gut San Diego, Modifly, Made by J, Curtis, The O’Neill Code, Sauer Works and Courageous.
The group wanted to build an experience that could showcase the differences and many of unconscious biases that exist in one place. If you’re swayed by the media and you haven’t figured that out, perhaps this site can help. If you see the police as “safety”, you might learn not everyone feels that way.
This site took a few weeks to make and went though a checks-and-balances process to make sure we were on the right path. In truth, this site is not for everyone. In a time where we’re looking for full inclusivity, we made the choice to go right at “black and white” issues—hence the URL.
As Derek reminds me, the hope is that the effort starts to get people thinking and talking about race, while creating more understanding along the way.
Some issues in America there’s no gray on. They’re simply black and white. Yet, based on your experiences, your truth might look different depending on whether you’re black or white. The idea here was to ask the same 10 questions and showcase differences in many of the answers.
We hope to bring perspective, progress and conversation with www.itsblackandwhite.us