One of the core values in a variety of helping professions entails recognizing and being aware of our own biases and addressing WHY we feel the way we do. We ALL have an unconscious bias(es). It is important to know what areas you may need more exposure or a better understanding to best serve your clients and interact with others regardless of one’s profession because this concept also applies to education, business, medicine, and other fields in which you must know and understand your client or customer to be effective. This assignment is designed to help you reflect, share, and practice some of your ideas when it comes to who you choose to interact and have relationships with: in particular choosing friends, your current partner/spouse, and/or future partner/spouse. The goal is to create awareness of our biases and how they influence our relationship choices/interactions and mate selection. EACH OF US CAN BE DEFINED OR CLASSIFIED IN MANY WAYS. OUR RACE, AGE, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, RELIGION, EDUCATION, SOCIAL CLASS, AND ETHNICITY ARE SOME WAYS WE IDENTIFY WITH OTHERS. WE ALSO USE THESE AS PART OF OUR FILTERING PROCESS WHEN CHOOSING A POTENTIAL MATE AND THOSE CLOSE TO US AS WE LEARNED IN CHAPTER 5. Think of your life as a pie chart based on demographics. If you were to divide the circle into different components or segments, which pieces are most important to how you identify yourself? For some, their religion plays the greatest part in who they are. For others, their gender identity or race is the most defining characteristic. Create your pie chart (computer-generated) with the percentages of what is most important to you and a key that defines what each percentage represents. This may prove to be harder than you think, but it is worth at least beginning to think about the biases we have and what has contributed to them. To keep this activity simple, we are going to only focus on a handful of demographics. Thus for this assignment, you MUST include these demographics (even if the percentage is 0; please assign a numerical value to each component) : Gender identity (do not confuse with sexual orientation–they are different) Age Race Religion/faith/spiritual beliefs *Feel free to include other and ONLY demographic categories (i.e., socioeconomic status, education level) as you deem appropriately relevant to your own identity and diversity. Take some time to think about how demographics influence our perceptions of ourselves and others…here are some questions to prompt your thinking: Many students have said, “age is just a number,” but is it? Would you feel different having a 25-year-old professor compared to a 50-year-old, compared to an 85-year-old? Are your friends closer to your age or do you have a variety of ages among friends? Do you make assumptions about people based on their age? Do others judge you by your age? With race, many students say they don’t see color, but do others see your skin color and treat you one way as a result or have you ever made assumptions of others based on their race? Would your life be different if you were of a different race? Is your race something that you find people make presumptions about regarding you? What role does race play in your relationships with others? With religious beliefs, do you find yourself looking for those who share your faith or prefer those who do not practice any religious beliefs? Would faith play an important role in your mate selection filter? In what ways are your connections with others influenced by your demographics: racial background; religion or are there certain religions that make you uncomfortable or nervous or you are drawn to? Are you or do you treat others a certain way based on their sex? If you were the opposite sex would you be treated differently? Lots of things to consider… Reflect and explore how you perceive each of these biases have or will influence your preferences regarding: connecting with others in friendships choosing a mate Think about it: what would you look for in a mate or a friend based on your pie chart? If you currently are in an intimate relationship or married (or have been), what factors based on your identity influenced your attraction to your partner? Think about your current friendships: was it a shared faith or similar background in race or age, etc. that helped form a relationship? In conclusion, after addressing all the components of your pie, what do you think has been the greatest influence that has shaped your perception of yourself and others the most–is it your demographics, your family upbringing or culture, your faith, and/or past experiences? Write a 3-4 page summary of why you ranked the categories the way you did and your responses to the questions posed with relevant inclusion of information from chapter 5.
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