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What Does My Headscarf Mean To You Analysis

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Everybody has unconscious bias. But what role does it play in our daily lives? And how does it affect us? In the TED talk “What Does My Headscarf Mean to You”, speaker Yassmin Abdel-Magied aims to encourage the audience to acknowledge that everyone has unconscious bias, and to look past their own bias in order to promote equal opportunity, particularly when it comes to the workplace. “We all have our own biases. They’re the filters through which we see the world around us.” (Abdel-Magied, 2:06) Everyone has their own way of looking at the world. Abdel-Magied does not argue that having bias is bad. Instead, she wants her audience to acknowledge their own biases, and learn to look past them (Abdel-Magied, 2:16). Unconscious bias, she says, is…show more content…
She addresses this by saying, “If we want to live in a world where the circumstances of birth do not dictate your future, and where equal opportunity is ubiquitous, each and every one of us has a role to play in making sure unconscious bias does not dictate our lives.” (Abdel-Magied, 2:34) Abdel-Magied herself is a minority. She was born in one of the poorest cities in the world. She is a non-white, Muslim woman. She wears a headscarf, which at a glance immediately sets her apart from society (Abdel-Magied, 10:44). She is also an accomplished woman. She has been a race car engineer, a boxer, and a leader on an oil rig (Abdel-Magied, 1:10-1:25, 6:23-6:38). But most people would never assume these things about her just by looking at her. Abdel-Magied is brave enough to ask “why not?” It is exactly that mindset, she argues, that creates so many boundaries and limits for minorities. She believes that unconscious bias, or explicit prejudice, leads to a detrimental lack of diversity in the workforce. (Abdel-Magied, 1:37) The unconscious bias that we all have, she says, is harmful to society because there are people who are just as qualified to be in certain positions, but are sometimes held back merely because of race, religion, disability, class, or…show more content…
She encourages the members of her audience to be a mentor to someone who is different from them, and who does not have the same opportunities as them (Abdel-Magied, 9:56). Everyone has the tendency to gravitate towards those similar as themselves, she acknowledges (Abdel-Magied, 10:00). But by finding someone with a completely different background than you, you can create opportunities for them that were not there before. Many times we don’t even realize that others lack the opportunities that we have (Abdel-Magied, 10:35-10:45). By making the decision to look beyond your own bias and reach out to someone, you have the potential to create more opportunities for people, and in doing so you are helping the world by creating equal
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