The Person You Mean to Be | Dolly Chugh

Summary of: The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias
By: Dolly Chugh


Welcome to the summary of ‘The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias’ by Dolly Chugh. This book explores the concept of unconscious bias, how it affects our daily lives, and the ways in which we can overcome these innate prejudices. We’ll delve into the psychology behind biases, the phenomenon of growth versus fixed mindset, and the role that privilege plays in shaping our perspectives. By understanding these concepts and taking actionable steps, we can create a more inclusive and empathetic society.

Growth Mindset and the Power of New Experiences

The benefits of having a growth mindset and why it’s important to embrace new experiences are highlighted in this summary inspired by the film Autism: The Musical.

Are you someone who embraces new experiences or sticks with the familiar? Filmmaker Perrin Chiles chose to learn about people with autism for his next project, even though he had little first-hand knowledge of the subject. This attitude embodies a growth mindset, one that is open to learning and exploring new things. Having a growth mindset can lead to incredible achievements, whereas a fixed mindset can limit potential.

The fixed mindset is when someone believes they’re either good or bad at something and aren’t willing to try something new. Meanwhile, someone with a growth mindset acknowledges their weaknesses and works to improve them. This mentality provides opportunities for growth, as people can learn new skills and engage in new experiences.

Through the film Autism: The Musical, Chiles was able to explore new perspectives and ideas, creating an award-winning documentary that opened people’s minds to the realities of autism. Unfortunately, fixed mindsets often lead to stubborn prejudices that prevent people from seeing the world in different ways. Hollywood is guilty of this, with a lack of diversity in film roles and production.

This summary highlights the importance of having a growth mindset and the power of new experiences in achieving great things. It also explores the challenges of overcoming prejudices and the need for more diversity in Hollywood, encouraging readers to be open-minded and embrace new opportunities.

Unconscious Bias: The Automatic Associations We Make

Unconscious bias refers to the unintentional discrimination that people make based on their accumulated information. With studies showing that people process 11 million pieces of information every second, only around 40 of those are processed consciously. Harvard psychologists Mahzarin Banaji, Anthony Greenwald, and Brian Nosek developed an Implicit Association Test (IAT) to measure unconscious bias. Results from this test that required rapid decision-making have shown that many open-minded participants held surprising conservative-minded biases. Some thought they had no racial or gender bias, but the test results proved them wrong. This just proves how unconscious these biases truly are.

Acknowledging Privilege

A 2015 Stanford study shows that white Americans tend to emphasize their childhood difficulties after being reminded of their privilege. Similarly, high earners in the workplace are more likely to highlight their strenuous work after being reminded of their benefits. However, positive achievement feedback can encourage people to acknowledge their privilege. The key, therefore, is to provide positive feedback before reminding people of their privilege. This is because most people believe that admitting their privilege makes their achievements seem unearned.

Overcoming Unconscious Biases

Unconscious biases can be subtle and prevalent, affecting interactions with others. Kimberly Davis, an African American executive, experienced this at a convention for female executives. Similarly, Joe Lentine grew up with little interaction with his black neighbors despite living in a multicultural area. Overcoming unconscious biases requires proactive effort, as seen with Lentine’s travels and business partnerships. It’s possible to address these biases and change how we interact with the world.

Combatting Racism: The Power and Responsibility of White Males

White males have the power and responsibility to help fight against racism and promote workplace diversity. Studies have shown that objections to racist statements are taken more seriously when they come from privileged people, and white male executives are more likely to be perceived in a positive light regardless of their success in creating a diverse team. Minority and female executives, on the other hand, are more likely to be harshly criticized. This bias makes it essential for white males to take action against racism to bring about change in society.

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