The Anti-Defamation League, Islamic Speakers Bureau and Northside Baptist Church responded to the recent rise in incidents of anti-Semitism and other hate crimes by holding a workshop Sunday, April 23, to teach the skills to promote a more respectful and safer community.
After an introduction by Shelley Rose, the interim regional director of the ADL’s Southeast Region in Buckhead, and Amin Tomeh of the Islamic Speakers Bureau, the group learned from ADL education project director Erin Beacham about explicit bias, which you are aware of, and implicit bias, which you are not.
Clutching your child’s hand tighter on the street when you see someone approach in a dark hoodie is an example of implicit bias, Beacham said, and children can pick up on such bias without their parents realizing it.
Beacham said we must be aware of our own bias. Showing a slide of an iceberg, she said, “Just like an iceberg, 90 percent of what makes up a person’s identity is below the surface.”
Workshop attendees were asked to classify themselves into the five groups they identified with most. By articulating the different aspects of their identities, participants demonstrated the diversity within that group of about 30 people gathered at the Northside Drive Baptist Church in Buckhead.
Another activity showed ways to respond to hateful and biased comments in everyday life. For example, if someone says, “Jews are cheap,” you can reply that many groups like saving money and that being frugal is human nature.
David Gittleman, a member of Congregation Bet Haverim’s action committee, said he attended the event on becoming an “upstander” instead of a bystander so he could bring useful skills back to Bet Haverim to deal with issues of bias and discrimination.
Rose and Beacham closed the event with an activity meant to inspire action. People were asked to write a thought, a feeling and an action on two Post-it notes, stick one on a board at the front of the room and take the other home.