Sun. Jul 3rd, 2022

If you have found yourself on West Chester’s campus as of late, you will notice some creative flyers hanging throughout the buildings reading “Courageous Conversation” and maybe you have wondered what this event is all about. Dr. Lisa Croft from St. Paul’s Baptist Church is partnering with and with Mayor Carolyn Comitta to host this event, as an effort to understand and overcome implicit biases.

You may be wondering what is an implicit bias? Well implicit bias is defined as attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner. Implicit biases are the ones we do not realize we are partaking in. They develop over time and normally are influenced by culture, family, friends and the media. These are the types of biases we need to become aware of and that is what the Courageous Conversation Convention wants to accomplish. While implicit biases are ones that we may not realize we have, an explicit bias is extremely different. These are the ideas, attitudes and actions we consciously have about a person, or social group.

Explicit biases often arise when people feel threatened and want to draw boundaries around themselves; explicit biases are the ones that often lead to discrimination and other preconceived notions. Explicit and Implicit biases can be extremely dangerous to a community and cause many tribulations. The Courageous Conversation Convention will be working hard to cultivate an open dialogue about the different types of biases and why we feel the need consciously or subconsciously to create these preconceptions in our minds.[pullquote]The convention will hold different workshops that are all hot topics of today including race, faith, culture, gender, age, physical ability and sexual orientation.[/pullquote]

The convention will hold different workshops that are all hot topics of today including race, faith, culture, gender, age, physical ability and sexual orientation. These workshops will focus on the implicit and explicit biases that surround these topics and how we can all work together to better understand people who might be a little different than ourselves. Mayor Comitta states that, “The goal of the courageous conversations conference is for us to become more aware of what our personal implicit biases are and therefore we can work to overcome these biases. Then we can do as MLK said, “… to not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,’ (or by their gender, age, faith, sexual orientation, etc.). ” This conference will allow for many hard conversations to be had, but will also allow for each attendee to look within themselves and see how their conscious and subconscious views affect the way that they see the people and the world around them.

Through the hard work of both Mayor Comitta and the Crofts West Chester is taking the steps needed to address these hot topics that are challenging communities throughout the country. Courageous Conversations will be platform to discuss and understand these implicit biases and a place to work together in overcoming such biases. Come join the conversation on April 18 (also there will be lunch provided for all of you hungry students.)

Register online, at www.courageous-conversations.eventbrite.com, come be apart of the day and hear how we all can better understand each other and our world.

Rebekah Corby is a fourth year political science major at West Chester University. She can be reached at mayor@west-chester.com.

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