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Subconscious Biases

Subconscious Biases

By Lynn Erasmus

When you think of Cultural IQ, do you consider it to be different cultures – their norms, values and beliefs, or your own stereotypes and biases you subconsciously hold?

If you consider linguistic oppression, “A form of social and cultural oppression where language is used as a means of power and control over a particular group of people,” you will understand that there are many biases that you perhaps were not even aware of.

It is often associated with situations where the dominant group in society imposes its language and communication style on minority groups, resulting in a loss of cultural identity, social status, and power.

In South Africa, during the Apartheid years, this was one of the many tools the government used to oppress their people. People of colour were forced to speak Afrikaans and their native tongue was ridiculed and even banned from being spoken in public.

How is this relevant to you in the UK?

I thought South Africa offered a rainbow of cultures, but here in the UK, you have Joseph’s coat of many colours (A story from the Bible) – with many diverse people living together in proximity.

Now my question is, “Do you ever hear an accent and instinctively think less of them?”

Perhaps you are not even aware of it. Do you subconsciously treat people with accents differently than you would those that speak the native language?

The purpose of this question is not to judge you, but to challenge you to be honest with yourself and ask the following questions, “Where does this thought come from and is it true?”

We don’t often have the time to sit and analyse our thoughts, but if you can sit for 5 minutes a day and listen to your thoughts and start challenging the assumptions we make – daily – without us even knowing or understanding where it comes from, we will become more culturally mindful.

Lynn Erasmus is a Third Culture Individual, and a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, journalist & speaker, shifting the audience from a place of fear to curiosity. She connects leaders and management with their teams, by helping them understand their core values, vision and team strengths and then bringing them together to achieve their shared goals through Cultural IQ. She delivers these outcomes through interactive keynotes, fun away days, focused masterclasses & training, and in-depth coaching sessions. As the Founder of SYMBL CIC, she is a fierce advocate for Inclusivity, Diversity, Equality and Belonging, where she helps companies to adapt their company culture to become innovative and sustainable global leaders.


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