The 2021 theme for Black History Month is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity (https://asalh.org/black-history-themes/).
Within our profession, we often discuss the concept of bias. A quick way to understand bias is that our brains create “shortcuts” based on whatever limited information or misinformation is available to fit a particular situation. These “shortcuts” allow us to make decisions without stopping to gather and analyze facts quickly. This dynamic helps us make snap decisions in the middle of an emergency but is often detrimental when we use the shortcuts to make critical legal, employment, or policy decisions based on inaccurate, incomplete, or patently wrong information.
Black History Month is critical because it allows us to update and correct the pool of information available to create better, more accurate shortcuts. This year’s focus on the Black family should help our profession examine its assumptions and work to align them with reality better.