Updated: Mar 30
Do you find yourself or others around you succumbing to biases & stereotypes sometimes? Are they powerful enough to govern our perception of and relationship with others?
Most of us would say a resounding “Yes!”. Often, this is the result of focusing on group identities. However, when we focus on individuals and characteristics of individuals alone, we can break habits of labelling and overcome internal biases. In this edition, we invite you to read the following books to begin your personal journey of identifying biases, broadening your perspectives, learning interesting & unique perspectives journeys, and most importantly, empathising better with those around you!
“When you label somebody and put them in a box, then you put the lid on the box, and you just never look inside again. I think it's much more interesting for human beings to look at each other's stories and see each other. Really see each other and then see themselves through other people's stories. That's where you start to break down stereotypes.” – Stephanie Beatriz
Title: The Person You Mean To Be
Author: Dolly Chugh
In today’s divided world, many of us want to believe in the ray of sunshine i.e equality, diversity and inclusion. In an effort to make this ray more tangible, the author uses her research in unconscious bias, sociology, economics, and psychology to advocate for diversity and uplift those who do not have a voice or the privilege to do so.
She lays out practical tools to bring a reader from ignorance to awareness.The takeaways can be applied to our workplaces, homes, and communities.
Our favorite quotes:
“Privilege is about whether cultural, legal and institutional systems are experienced by everyone.”
“Challenge yourself to hear their experience without questioning its expression. Avoid being the tone police.”
Author: Tara Westover
Tara Westover’s memoir is compelling and eye opening - Born to survivalists in Idaho, Westover never went to school and her views of the world were shaped by her parents and their conspiracy theories. However, encouraged by her brother, Westover decided to pursue formal education at and discovered new perspectives which seemed previously impossible. Her education journey eventually brought her to Harvard University and Cambridge University.
Her unique journey sheds light on privilege and encourages readers to not take many elements of our lives for granted, e.g. family education, etc. Her courage to fight for what she believes in and re-invent her life is commendable. In her book, it is evident that education is important and broadens one's world and perspectives.
Our favorite quotes:
“My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.”
“We are, all of us, more complicated than the roles we are assigned in the stories other people tell.”
Title: The Beekeeper of Aleppo
Author: Christy Lefteri
This book is extremely timely. Lefteri’s work follows a couple fleeing the Syrian war for a better future. When detailing the physical, mental, and emotional destruction, her words are poignant and heavy. She showed that the extensive damages and sacrifices that immigrants and refugees make when their lives are turned upside down are unimaginable for those who are living in countries with stable governments and support systems.
Pick up this book for an opportunity to learn and understand the raw emotions of refugees, their challenges, needs and wants and move away from your daily CNN coverage for a real-life and human account of their stories!
Our favorite quotes:
“Inside the person you know, there is a person you do not know.”
“People are not like bees. We do not work together, we have no real sense of a greater good – I’ve come to realise this now.”
This article is part of the Social Impact column by the Social Impact subcommittee that focuses on social causes concerning women and children. Click here to learn more about the subcommittee and its initiatives.
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