Barriers between people are as old as the fall and far from easy to deal with, that is the message of Genesis chapters 1 to 11.
One of the barriers we need to overcome is “dotism”, let me explain.
I came across a social experiment where 10 people to be interviewed at a company for a job. Before the interview a red dot painted on their cheek. After the interview, there was a debrief. Each of the 10 said the interviewer kept staring at the red dot on their cheek.
However, 5 didn’t have a red dot – they had a clear one that couldn’t be seen! Yet they still felt the interviewer was focusing on the dot! People feel self-conscious about whatever makes them insecure. E.g. weight, gender, any negative distinctive.
Do you feel as if people are focusing on your red dot?
I have felt this on several occasions, but was it really a red or was it just in my imagination? E.g. I visited an adventure centre in Hong Kong mostly frequented by mainland Chinese. The men were mostly smaller than me and wearing suits. I was wearing shorts and felt everyone was focusing on my bare, long legs!
I ran in an open athletic race in Watford, people were put into a heat based on their expected finishing time. Most of the others in my heat were teenage girls! I have been the only white person in a black church.
Or have you felt like the interviewer – wrongly accused of focusing on the red dot? Once I interviewed two people for a job – I appointed the white guy rather than the Asian. Was I racist?
Barriers exist between people – not least because of dotism! We need to be aware of these barriers and work to break them down if we are going to build an inclusive culture.
Written by Tony Thompson