A television news anchor's "embarrassing" written confession serves as an example that admitting racial bias is the first step in ending discrimination.
This week, 58-year-old Frank Somerville wrote on Facebook that he watched an African American man walking on a sidewalk towards a white woman at a bus stop. The Emmy Award-winning anchor with Oakland television station KTVU watched the man because he wanted "to make sure he doesn't do anything to the woman."
After a little boy grabbed the African American man's hand, Somerville realized that this stranger was with his son and there was no reason for concern. The incident — and his gut reaction to it — left Somerville confused.
"The whole way home I was thinking to myself: I grew up in Berkeley. I have a black daughter. And yet I still have that %$#%$@ bias," Somerville, who is white, wrote on Facebook. "What the %$#%$ is wrong with me?"
Years ago, Somerville and his wife adopted an African American daughter who inspired them to look beyond race.
"It's like having a pink kid, a purple kid, a white kid. A kid is a kid," Somerville told Care.com. "She happens to look different from me, but she's just a kid.' I love that I have an interracial family, and I wouldn't trade it."
Somerville posted a photo of him and his daughter along with his Facebook confession.
"I hope by telling this story that maybe it will get other people to think about their biases," he wrote on Facebook. "We ALL have them. And the only way to eliminate them is to realize that they are there in the first place."
As of September 1, his Facebook post has received over 25,000 likes.
A 2015 Pew Research study found that most people, including those respondents who were biracial, demonstrated some degree of racial bias. Since making race-based assumptions is so prevalent, it is something that everyone can — and should — get better about admitting, even if only to ourselves.
Somerville's Facebook post was not the first time that he called out racism online, but it certainly was his most popular post on the subject.
"My feeling is that if I really want to promote discussion, I have to be willing to put myself out there first," he wrote in a Facebook comment. "How can I expect any of you to put yourselves out there unless I'm willing to do the same?"
View related content from our partners:
(H/T: Huffington Post)