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posted: Sep. 02, 2022.
For one of my doctoral courses in clinical psychology, I participated in an experiential lab activity in which I needed to explore a time when I acted in a prejudicial way. The lab on identifying biases was eye-opening to me. I was able to identify an experience when I did act in a prejudicial way. I was born in Argentina. However, I was raised in the United States by Argentine parents and although we spoke Spanish at home, I was fluent in English completely by second grade, or possibly earlier. I realized at some point that I was impatient with people who were less acculturated than my parents and I. Since I became fully integrated into American life early in my life, and spoke fluent English, I developed a bias around people of different cultures that did not acculturate or devote time to becoming fluent in English. I began to strongly identify with being American as well as identified with the English language which I continue to believe was the dominant language. I remember visiting my son's school. I was greeted by a school secretary that automatically began to speak to me in Spanish. I felt taken aback and responded to her in English. I believe I acted this way because I felt judgemental as I seem to have developed a core belief that people of other cultures that fail to acculturate and learn the dominant language, are doing so out of resistance and expecting others to accommodate them. Tallyrand and Vojtech (2018) noted the acculturation process has the potential to be stressful in the sense that adjustment to diverse cultures can be challenging to make.
Over the years, I believe I have resolved this problem within myself, as I realize that my core belief was not exactly adaptive nature, but was instead distorted and judgmental. I found the exercise challenging as I had to search my memory banks for that experience. I personally have experienced bias directed towards me as well. My husband and I are in an interracial couple and on one of our trips cross country, we were routinely stopped for speeding usually by an over zealous Caucasian officer.
Talleyrand, R. M., & Vojtech, J. T.-G. (2018). Potential Stressors of Undocumented Latinx Youth: Implications and Recommendations for School Counselors. Professional School Counseling, 22(1), 1-8. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26784461