PeRsonal PRisms

      69 Comments on PeRsonal PRisms
Mecca Santana

Mecca Santana

A wise person once said, “No two people see the same movie.” We experience the world through our own personal prisms; our views of people, places and things are shaped by perceptions we develop throughout our lives. In the PR profession, the ability to understand people’s personal prisms are essential to how we communicate, not only with diverse audiences, but with those who have trouble embracing diversity.

Mecca Santana was a keynote speaker at the New York State Communication Association’s 73rd Annual Conference this weekend, and she discussed prejudices in her address, “Lost in Translation: The Interplay Between Diversity, Inclusion and Communication.” Santana, former state chief diversity officer and now vice president of the Office of Diversity and Community Relations for Westchester Medical Center, told the audience that diversity issues make people very uncomfortable. “These issues evoke very emotional and not logical responses. We are closed-minded when it comes to our own closed-mindedness.”

Santana, a graduate of Hofstra Law School who began her career as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, has been working to educate people on issues of diversity, especially when biases affect their decision-making. “We all have our prejudices. You need candor when dealing with these issues.” She gave several disturbing examples, such as when some teachers grade based on race, believing black students aren’t expected to achieve at the same academic level as Asian students. “These attitudes can have devastating lifelong impacts,” she noted. “They can change the trajectory of a student’s life.”

Santana encourages anyone who’ll listen to confront their prejudices first through recognition, then reflection, and ultimately reconciliation. “A little cultural intelligence helps us to deal with our biases,” she said. “Bias will always exist within us. Your ability to understand your bias makes all the difference.”

Santana quoted the Talmud, the central text of Judaism, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” A challenge for public relations practitioners is how to break through people’s prejudices and pre-conceived notions–and perhaps recognize these biases–and craft our messages knowing they exist. Your thoughts?

69 thoughts on “PeRsonal PRisms

  1. premierorion

    Mecca Santana makes a great point when she says that we must be aware of our biases. It is not entirely our fault that these biases form, they form based on experiences we have and things we’ve learned growing up, but if we are aware of the biases and choose not to act on these feelings it would make the world a better place.

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  2. kgorsky1

    I found this post to be especially interesting because it points out how there is much more to public relations than just publicity. Public relations also requires a great deal of knowledge in psychology in order to understand how the public is going to receive your message.

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  3. Nicole Garcia

    For me, the root of all advice often points back to a point you always stress, to be well-rounded and never stop learning. The more we learn, the better we understand people and the world, and as a result, the easier it’s to eliminate baseless judgments and “reconcile” them.

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  4. vciavarella24

    Mecca Santana seems very passionate about this topic and what she does. She makes great points and seems like an intelligent person. This reminded me that we have our entitled to our opinions. I agree with what she says and this can be an important issue in the PR world and can come up in future situations working in a PR industry. It makes me sad that teachers are still grading tests based on race. To me that is completely wrong and they are suppose to be there to guide us and treat everyone equally. Not judge their students.

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  5. Martin Bradshaw

    I think spreading awareness about diversity issues is very important. For many people, it’s difficult to see past prejudices that they have had their whole lives. These biases can form a huge problem when people possess them growing up. Their perceptions of people will likely have an affect on how they treat those people. So it’s important to avoid biases and embrace diversity and differences. After all, you don’t want to lose money or business by offending and turning away potential customers, professionals, or employers as a result of personal prejudices.

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  6. Bianca

    Santana makes some really great points. Everyone is going to see things through their own biases, and it gets in the way of communicating messages. What’s unfortunate is when our biases go from individual-by-individual basis to larger groups such as race, religion, or gender. This was a good reminder to have an open mind about our own close-mindedness.

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  7. lourdesjc

    I definitely agree with Mecca Santana, the difference is in how we cope with our personal bias in our lives. I think moral and bias complement each other. About every decision we make daily has bias, from what we choose to eat, to what we wear, and where we work. In PR these two components definitely interact and a PR professional must be vigilant in their profession and should always keep honesty front line.

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  8. Liz Steinberg

    Biases do affect our decisions in life. It can be hard to put them aside, especially when you’re so closely tied to a project. However, I do think that people are not open enough in this world. They do not want to look out and branch away from their own negative (or positive, even though it’s less likely) views when it comes to making decisions. They don’t like looking at the bigger picture. I think that what this woman is doing is great.

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  9. jzagorski22

    It is important that in the PR profession, or just life in general, we remain unbiased while dealing with people. Whether it be judging against someone different than you, or siding with someone you can relate to, we must not bring outside forces and background information into our ways of dealing with situations and making decisions. There is prejudice everywhere you look, that is just the world we live in and unfortunately there are just too many people, too many personalities, to ever be able to live in a world of peace where no one is judged, or punished, or praised for their opinions, their preferences, and their beliefs. As for PROFESSIONALS, training should enforce rules and regulations to stay away from bias to help prevent any action against those who may become victims of prejudice or even those who are given a pass of some sort because they can develop a connection through similarity.

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  10. Sabrina O'Neil

    It is unfortunate that in the year 2015 issues on diversity still need to be discussed. Santana is right in saying that bias continues to exist in society. A large amount of these influences come from media outlets such as television and film. They maintain the typical stereotypes of each race. This discussion leads back to the post on Ahmed Mohamed who was profiled as a danger due to his race. The biases we have against each other will not disappear unless everyone makes a conscious effort to believe that we are all the same. The quote stated by Santana explains it perfectly: “We are closed-minded when it comes to our own closed-mindedness.” We need to open up our minds and stop the hate.

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  11. Sarah

    After reading this article, it makes you sad that these issues of diversity still occur today. You would think that after all of these years people would have more of an open mind and accept other cultures and beliefs especially in a school setting. I found it so disturbing that some teachers grade based on race. Teachers are supposed to be good mentors and teach us students so we have the knowledge for our future, not harm or judge us.

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  12. Erin Schmitt

    I think Mecca Santana’s message resonates extremely well, and I particularly like her quote of “We are closed-minded when it comes to our own closed-mindedness.” Many people go through life with blinders on without realizing it or failing to acknowledge the issue in it. PR is a profession in which you cannot let personal biases or perceptions affect the quality of the work you are producing, and in this way Santana’s notions are important to understand and keep in mind.

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  13. cdano1

    I have always said that the more educated you are, the more unbiased you become. I think getting a well rounded education exposes you to so many different cultures and topics. Of course, there will always be some sort of bias in people, but if we can understand other people, than the bias won’t influence us to such a strong degree.

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  14. Emily Green

    It isn’t easy to leave out bias because we all have our own opinions. As a PR person, we need to learn how to understand the different opinions and biases of all audiences and learn how to effectively communicate to these parties without imposing our own beliefs on them. It is not an easy job, but necessary to be successful in the PR world.

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  15. Abby Drapeau

    I’m not sure if we as a society will ever be able to overcome biases because they are so hard to talk about. Just like when Santana says “We are closed-minded when it comes to our own closed-mindedness” it’s hard for people to recognize that their thoughts might be bias, and when people call them out for that, it can have a very emotional response.

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  16. R.J. Cherpak

    I agree with Santana and feel that everyone has their own personal biases towards certain groups of people and that it is very important for us to acknowledge these biases that we have developed. It is very unfortunate to see some of the consequences that result from these biases and it is important for us to be aware of the biases we have developed in order to become a more accepting and open minded society.

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  17. Sara Fox

    Mecca Santana’s thoughts on this issue are almost alarming, but make sense once you begin thinking about it. I grew up in a predominantly white area. There were bound to be at least a couple of teachers who had biases and used them against minorities. It is very unfair and could certainly, as Santana put, “change the trajectory of a student’s life.” I don’t think these biases are intentional however. All cultures have biases, as we talked about in class and as Santana explained. It is our job to fight these biases with facts. In a previous blog post, we talked about Ahmed Mohamed and how he was the victim of this kind of stereotyping from a teacher and some police officers. I responded to this by bringing up other school shootings and incidents and observed that often times, the gunmen are white. If we actually presented the facts, I think many people would be surprised and start to consciously eliminate many preconceived notions we have of entire cultures.

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  18. Rebecca Haines

    It is sad that prejudices are still so prevalent today. People becoming more knowledgable about other cultures and races is a main aspect of what it takes for acceptance in the world. We can judge an entire culture by something that happened years ago by a member of that culture, which is very unfortunate. When people relate Muslims to 9/11 I think of Muslims who are my age, 19 years old, who are judged based on what happened that day with the terrorist attack. I was 5 years old when that attack happened and so were so many Muslims; yet they are still given that prejudice. I really think that so many of us need to be more accepting of other people and not so ignorant to the fact that being a specific race does not define a personal as a whole.

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  19. syanok

    I agree with the points made in this post fully. I believe people treat others and form their expectations of them based on their perceived ethnicity and their appearance. Many of the worlds problems come from stereotypes and preconceived ideas about what a person should be or how people believe one should act.

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  20. Casey Lamkin

    I think that Mecca Santana’s ideas on prejudice and bias standards hit home with PR professionals because it’s our job (not saying I’m a professional, but I do someday hope to be) to identify our demographic. If we don’t do a proper job of identifying our audience, who we’re speaking to in this process, then we won’t be successful. These are important things to take into consideration within the industry. In order to not offend anyone you have to be fully aware of the TARGET AUDIENCE. Put aside prejudice and bias, yes, and know who you’re talking to.

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  21. kassaramcelroy

    A PR professional must be aware of bias and create messages accordingly. However, a GOOD PR professional will aim to break through and lessen the presence of these biases. Santana mentions how diversity evokes emotion not logic in humans. Therefore I believe in order to remove these biases a PR professional must create a message utilizing logic.

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  22. Maddi Roman

    People are far too sensitive nowadays. It is difficult to say anything without offending a group of people or an individual that represents that group. We have to be careful about the content of what we say because things are so easily blown out of proportion.

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  23. Awoolman13

    I agree with Santana when she says that people get highly emotional when race is brought up in discussion. In high school, I took a number of classes that revolved around racial and ethnic discussions, and in almost every class students would get into heated debates and act extremely defensive when a teacher would question their opinions or statements.

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  24. Hailey Oliveri

    The issues of people being biased are very prevalent, but I do believe that these issues won’t go away. It takes a personal understanding of these biases to get over the hurdle

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  25. Forrest Gitlin

    In my opinion, good PR plays to people biases and crafts a message around what people are willing to hear or see. In order to change someone’s a view, and shatter their bias, one must first slowly reveal to them the information that would eliminate such preconceived notions. In other words, the process of crafting a message that is contrary to the beliefs of the target public must be done carefully and gradually. For example, if a Guns Rights organization is trying to help a town devastated by a recent shooting, they certainly can’t start off with rhetoric about how firearms aren’t responsible for the tragedy. If such an organizations were to do so, they would get nowhere with that group of people.
    Similar examples can be made for people of differing views and people of various demographics.

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  26. Lysa Carre

    I found this article to be phenomenal and truly inspirational. I believe our various perspectives on life are determined by the way we are raised and our personal experiences. The more sheltered one grows up to be – the narrower their viewpoints inevitably become. For example, if one grows up in a neighborhood that consists of one majority race/culture, then chances are that individual will have a difficult time assimilating with those of another ethnicity/religion different than what they’re normally accustomed to. Also, if someone grew up with a silver spoon in their mouth then it would not be easy for them to comprehend poverty, and how people can be homeless, starving on an everyday basis, incapable of obtaining a job and substantial income. Therefore, it is crucial to embrace diversity and be open to learning from those who have different walks of life. There is not one person who knows everything which is why life is a never-ending learning process, and change is the only constant. The more well-rounded one is, the more intelligent they will continuously become.

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  27. Alexis Carfagno

    Many times our own biases take precedence, but I think that it is really important for everyone to try and put their biases aside and open their minds up to learn new things. Doing this is important in all careers and all fields, but especially in the public relations field, it is imperative to try to look past our biases. Public relations is all about communication and whether it is the public relations practitioner who is communicating a message to consumers, employees, media or other publics, it is important that the public relations practitioner takes into account the background of everyone. That is why being in the public relations field requires the practitioner to have background knowledge on everything that is going on. I think that Santana is 100% correct in that we all must confront and recognize any prejudices we have and that will be the first step to lessening any prejudices / biases.

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  28. Emily DiLaura

    “We are closed-minded when it comes to our own closed-mindedness.” What a great way to put it. I loved this and what Santana has to say. So often we are so concerned about being politically correct, we are every politically correct and sound like robots. It is so important to understand, be honest, and educate yourself. I love that she points out that biases exist and always will. It may be unfortunate but it is very true. education needs to occur to fight biases but learning to work with those or around those biases is key in the communications field. It also helps you to learn what you should and should not say/use.

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  29. Cass Lang

    Biases exist in so many different ways and influence many different aspects of life and I don’t believe that we, as a society, will ever be able to fully overcome them. But, I also believe that being aware of these biases and understanding where they come from and how they are having an effect on our lives is the best way to approach the issues biases present.

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  30. A. Murphy

    It is very true that we all develop our own biases and have varied recognition for what our biases might be. With that being said, it is important for us to sort through any communication boundaries that we might have and that often stem from our personal experiences that we’ve had and our biases towards varied groups of people. But I also, maybe naively, believe that biases are self-constructes and in order to better understand the world around us, we need only to break down the biases. Hoever, breaking them down is an impossible endeavor that goes against human nature’s instict to categorize the world around us and put the world into various mental boxes in order to understand it and determine it’s relation to us.
    So, while it will be impossible to truly break down these biases, it is important for anyone who is communicating with another person (which is honestly everyone) to have at least a surface level understanding of their personal biases, their origin, and how all of that impacts their communication with others.

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  31. Nikita Hakels

    It is sad but the prejudice factor does exist in our society and we often make our decisions based on race, culture and gender, but have we forgotten that you can’t judge no one on these bases, a persons personality is what matters the most. I would have to agree with her that biases does exist with in us its just unfortunate that it does. We could also say that the means we choose to communicate can effect our decisions in life.

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  32. S. Shakola

    I agree with the fact that each person has their own prejudices and biases. Based on how we grew up and what we experienced, we are going to have different viewpoints and values. When developing campaigns and in any work field, you have to take those into consideration and be able to take a step back and try and understand how everything you say and do will be viewed to other people. It sounds difficult, and it is, but it is what will make you a better person to work with.

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  33. p.kelody

    Like many others have commented, it is extremely important and also difficult to break the prejudice barrier that is so often demonstrated in society. I agree with Santana completely when she said the first step is recognition. People are either afraid to speak up about their own/others’ biases or fail to even recognize these biases. The first step in any problem is admitting the problem is there! In PR, that is especially important if we are supposed to have the trust of the public.

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  34. Marc Roessle

    Bias is one of those things in this world that will probably never go away. I personally think the bias and stereotypes are not right to express in this day in age. The sad thing is that the world will probably never get over bias. Hopefully there is a solution one day.

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  35. hallieabish

    I definitely think that every person has their own prejudice ideas. It is human nature to think a certain way about certain people based on the way we grew up. This is an idea that we learned about in class a few weeks ago. I like how Santana works to help people recognize their prejudices. Although being negative to another race is never okay, I do not think it is possible to say that racial prejudices will ever disappear. With that said, I think it is important to recognize the way we all think and work towards controlling our thoughts.

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  36. Dan Hanson

    Biases exist everywhere. Every person you meet has a bias of some kind. It’s just one of those things you’ll never not find. It is tough when you have to deal with someone through PR that has a different bias then you do, but at the same time, it’s just something you need to cope with. Another thing, biases sometimes aren’t always based on individuals or groups, but on past experiences. Everyone has their own little shtick.

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  37. Judea Hartley

    After reading this blog, I was so grateful that we have someone like Mecca Santana that understands and takes a stand for equality and equity in regards to the societal decisions that are made because of diversity. It saddens me that this society still bases it’s social, political, educational, and economical decisions off of race. Being prejudice is in direction correlation to superiority. One person believes that they are superior to another and that the other is inferior to them. When one obtains this prejudice perspective, the ”superior” sets lower expectations regarding the ”inferior”. What do I mean by this? I am referring to the lower test standards that are set by the BOE because it has been decided by the BOE system that African American children are expected to fail. in regards to societal’s political decision making, I am referring to how many people want Barack Obama to be out of office just because he is an African American man; furthermore, simply overlooking the evident fact that he is indeed qualified for the job. Many societal bias decisions that are made are based off one’s past experience with someone of another race, or one’s superior belief. In public relations, reaching the audience is key. More importantly, the tactic that is used to reach the audience is even more important. Decision making should be based off of truth and qualification, not off of prejudices. Therefore, in regards to decision making, a PR person must develop the skill to inform the audience about the ethics behind decision making while still keeping the audience intrigued and primary.

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  38. joebarone28

    So many people spoke about how “breaking barriers” is such a difficult task. They are right. I wouldn’t say we are born with views, however we develop tendencies and reactions through experiences. We digest the situation and then react. These ideas come from the media, our parents, and even education. The statements are true. Everything we do and say is impacted by previous experiences – most notably with the media involved. The whole notion of msNBC and FOX supports this claim. Because of their bias, we cannot develop a true objective account of events.

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  39. dannynikander

    I’ve always noticed how non-diverse media seems to be. Personally, I can connect to something more when I relate to it in some way, but there are many people that aren’t able to do this because they are not being represented. I’ve noticed campaigns for companies exploding over social media because the show a a typical group that is rarely represented. It’s not only satisfying for the customer to finally be recognized, but also to the PR person because you’re gathering in even more consumers for being open-minded.

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  40. Elaine

    Undoubtedly, bias is unavoidable for a PR practitioner because PR’s mainly duty is communicate with clients. You know different people have different characters and different opinions to the world. As a PR practitioner, they should know a lot knowledge like different culture, different field and different hierarchy. And I’m sure Santana have a correct decision. The first step is recognition. We should know the clients’ character, know the clients’ background or know how to develop for the next step of a case. PR practitioner must know all before implementation. Thus, research seems to essential to PR industry and it is important too.

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  41. lpardee1

    It is human nature to have a bias due to there upbringing, likes, dislikes, knowledge, interests, passions… there is a truly endless list of things that sway the way we think. The ability to be open minded and set aside bias for the the purpose of being successful in the PR world is what makes and breaks people in the professional world.

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  42. boxofficesam

    Everyone is born with their own views and opinions and our society has become so pc to the point where some people have become afraid of expressing their own views and opinions. To some degree it’s as if we have gotten rid aspects of individuality because of being pc.

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  43. capriceoliver

    I believe that perception is one of the hardest challenges when it comes to public relations. As a whole we must fight to overcome our preconceived prejudices. This is definitely a battle but it is achievable. This speaker gave some interesting insight on the issue. As the author noted recognition is the first step. To first choose to acknowledge the problem will help the perceived prejudices go away!

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  44. Rachel Tyler

    Everyone has biases and it is difficult to try to break down everyones. Biases come from a different sources for each of us. Some biases come from family, experiences, news, etc. When it comes to media, the smart decision is to break down what you believe is the biggest bias. It is very difficult to get everyone.

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  45. azachar1

    Hi Professor Morosoff,

    This speaker sounds really interesting! I find this week’s topic to be of extreme importance at this time. As I’m sure you are aware, there has been a lot of conflict happening in Israel recently. People (both Israelis and Palestinians) are getting stabbed right and left. I think that Santana is definitely right to say that people think of diversity using their hearts, not their minds. This to me is very problematic because when you’re not thinking pragmatically, you are putting people’s lives at risk. Your quote from the Talmud perfectly ties into this issue (I love studying text from the Torah).

    I think it is necessary to understand what people’s biases are. Perhaps we can attempt to change their biases, but I feel like the majority of the time it is easier to base PR on people’s preconceived biases (unless the bias is highly negative).

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  46. alexivelasquez

    Santana’s statements are sad, but true. Everyone has biases, whether they know it or not, but when it comes to media professions, we have to try to eliminate these biases as much as possible because we communicate with so many different people. I agree with the quote at the end — everyone views the world in a different way, as we all develop personal biases from the people we surround ourselves with, the environment we are in, and many other factors.

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  47. Melissa Cooke

    Santana’s statement speaks nothing but the honest truth. It is unfortunate that inevitably our own life experiences shape the way we think into a bias opinion. As a PR Professional it is important to be aware that these bias’s are forming subconsciously to everyone including ourselves so that we can do our best to prevent further promoting these bias’s while also doing our best to reach everyone on a level they can relate to.

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  48. Victor Alicea

    Santana’s points are very relatable to everyone as a whole. Instead of discriminating diversity, we should be celebrating it. It is terrible to think that two children that should be blind to discrimination are on the receiving end of it. I can’t fathom being a child knowing I tried my hardest on an assignment and not getting the grade I earned whether the odds are in my favor or against it. Although we are far away from a “color blind” society, admitting and recognizing our bias problem is strides in the right direction for the greater good. Unfortunately, many people have the mindset that this behavior will never change. If we decide to not give up and continue the positivity despite all the negativity plaguing this world, slowly but surely the bias will dissolve. I hope that one day we can live to see true equality in this country at least.

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  49. Tara

    I agree with Santana because we are all impacted by different life experiences and I think it is important for PR professionals to be aware of their own biases. It was interesting to read a Hofstra grad was speaking at the conference !

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  50. Jack De Gilio

    I think Santana’s statement is true, though it is also unfortunate as well. I think we all do have our own biases and prejudice, some people are more willing to admit it more than others. This is very true when it comes to the media as well, since certain news channels, websites and magazines follow a specific agenda, meaning each news source will view a story differently from others.

    I think from a PR standpoint, this brings up how we should view diversity, as we want to try our best to accommodate with the public. I think in this profession, much like many others, our job is to work through biases and make sure that our own clients don’t have a prejudice that can rub the public the wrong way.

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  51. Victoria Reid

    I think Santana’s statement is the host truth. We all have our own biases that stem from our individual experiences and beliefs and because of that it makes it difficult for pr people to appeal to everyone. Although it’s often extremely difficult to get past people’s biases and open their eyes to the bigger picture, I think it’s important to at least try to do so by recognizing that they exist.

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  52. Kylie Todd

    I think Santana makes good points. Diversity is a touchy subject for most people, even though many say it’s something to be embraced. I do think that there are some people who choose to be closed minded by not asking questions. And I realize that by asking certain questions it might offend the person being asked, but there are more ways to find out information about different cultures or different races. Watching videos or looking up facts online for instance are obvious other ways questions can be answered. I also thought it was very interesting how she mentioned that teachers can be racially bias in their student’s academic abilities. It makes me wonder, being a young African American woman, have my teacher’s ever had bias expectations of me? Did I exceed those expectations? Did I not live up to them?

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  53. jennsmulo

    This post is relevant, not just for public relations professionals, but for everyone. People develop biases and prejudices and they let it rule them. The fact that people can judge someone based on how they look or what they believe without knowing anything about a person is wrong. We try hard to combat these issues, but so many people still let their biases rule them.

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  54. ChloeLauraDale

    The underlying message of this blog post is a very important concept. Not just in PR, but in general. Breaking down barriers and introducing people to the bigger picture is a tough job. So many people listen to reply. They don’t digest what the other is saying or make an effort to understand, but instead instantly relate the topic back to themselves. This way they never really gain any new knowledge or perspective. They simply stick to their usual ways. Some people become stubborn and these characters are hard to connect with. It takes a carefully constructed message to spark a change in someone’s mind. This is one of the toughest challenges when it comes to PR and communication in general.

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    1. zhenpanda

      @ChloeLauraDale

      It is only human nature to “instantly” relate back to ourselves. It’s comments like yours that contain an indirect and insulting tone and misconstrued opinion of others that makes my blood boil. However, I’m happy that you pointed out that “It takes a carefully constructed message to spark a change in someone’s mind” just please practice what you preach.

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      1. ChloeLauraDale

        @ zhenpanda

        I have rephrased my comment.

        The underlying message of this blog post is a very important concept. Not just in PR, but in general. Breaking down barriers and introducing people to the bigger picture is a tough job. It has become habit, not to listen to understand, but to listen to reply. This makes it difficult to gain any new knowledge or perspective. As we get older we can develop a stubbornness and be tough to connect with. It takes a carefully constructed message to spark a change in someone’s mind. This is one of the toughest challenges when it comes to PR and communication in general.

        I apologize for the tone. I certainly didn’t mean to insult anybody. After reading back my words, I realize my choice of wording was poor. For that I am sorry.

        To respond to your other comment, I agree, it is human nature to relate back to your own experiences. However, the point I was trying to make was that sometimes we try so hard to relate something back to ourselves that we over look the other point of view. Keeping the conversation going is often more important that understanding exactly what the other person is saying.

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. Have a good evening.

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        1. zhenpanda

          Thank you for your reply. I understand your message completely. Regarding biases, it’s should be a given that people recognize it and avoid it as much as possible.
          Have a good evening!

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  55. Jeff Lansky

    I agree that we all have are own biases and we must recognize them and try to change them for the better. I think that it is very concerning that some teachers still grade students based on race. Every student deserves to be taught and graded the same regardless of their race or gender. I agree with Santana that people will always have their own biases and it is up to us to change our own biases.

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  56. Lindsey

    The ways in which different individuals view the world is shaped by the accumulation of all of our experiences, those that happen within, and those that happen outside of our selves. We may not be able to control the way these biases manifest themselves in our every day lives, but the first step in stopping them from affecting negative change, is to identify them and acknowledge they exist.

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  57. Katherine Hammer

    It is very unfortunate that biases continue to occur and negatively affect society. A lot of the time, people react on emotional impulse rather than logical reason. It’s impossible to remain unbiased when emotions are involved. In that case, we should always remove emotion from important situations. I agree with Santana that we need to remain unbiased in decision making processes, to ensure the outcome will be ethical. I believe people’s biases come from various factors, and there will always be bias. However, like Santana said, we must be able to identify the bias in the world and convey to others that the so called facts given are unethical. For example, in the media there are certain news sources that favor one part of a story, and we need to be able to identify the other parts before making decisions on how to react.

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  58. jheiden1

    It’s unfortunate that these biases are dealt with in every day life. Though things have improved slowly over time, it seems like there is still much to be done. I fully agree with the last quote. We put people into the light we believe they should be in. I hope we as practitioners can continue to push the progressive envelope and create a more diversity-inclusive profession.

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  59. Daphne Kotridis

    Given that public relations is supposed to be an entirely unbiased, factual presentation of issues relating to an organization, I think PR is the perfect method to break biases. The best way to show someone that his or her beliefs are narrow minded is by giving them an example that counteracts that belief and is also true. Through PR, one could explain the culture of a specific group or race as fact, to give an audience a better understanding of that group.

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  60. emilyrwalsh

    Unfortunately, many times people develop a way of thinking through their owns views and experiences. However, I do think there are many forces that affect the way we develop biases. The media is a big culprit in persuading audiences into a certain way of thinking, including stereotypes and biases. Everyone, especially public relations professionals, must be aware and very careful of the way they represent biases. We have to treat all people equally and with the same respect. I completely agree with Santana and love her point she makes that bias is always within us, but it is our ability to understand it that makes a difference in whether it is positive or negative.

    Another point I completely agree with is where she says people must confront prejudices by recognition, reflection, and then reconciliation. Through this process, we can make negative biases into positive ones. I really enjoyed this blog post and I think it speaks a lot to PR people and the way we must deal with and present bias issues.

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  61. audrathorsen

    She is correct when she says everyone has a bias against something, but what matters is that we recognize it and understand it. Everyone has experienced different things in life and because of this, everyone has different biases. Once one realizes they are being biased, it is up to them to recognize that bias and work to understand it. The quote, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are” stands out to me because It’s true, everyone views things differently depending on who we are as people. Everyone experiences everything in a different way and develops different thoughts, giving them certain outlooks on life. These outlooks on life then mold them as a person and guide them to making certain choices.

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  62. Chelsey Fuller

    I think it is every person’s goal to try and stay objective and not be bias, but sadly the society we live in doesn’t support that. Everyday we see something that proves that prejudice and personal bias still affect our country. I think it really comes down to the person you are. Only you can decide how you will succeed in life. It is based on how you were raised, where you grew up, etc. Either you overcome it or you don’t. I only hope that I can be an honest and just professional as I come into the industry.

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  63. jhlabella

    It is unfortunate and hard to deny that biases still impact society greatly. However I often create my own bias based on a negative experience that I may have had with a particular person. So I wouldn’t necessary say that I have a bias based on a particular race however I may have a bias based upon an individual person.

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  64. Dale Ciampa

    i think her statement is very accurate but unfortunate. I think what we do and what we listen too is effected by the channel of communication. I think the channel we use to communicated between people is so various it could include something such as race and diversity. A lot of people form an opinion just based of off the communicators race or reputation. I think a lot of the people will prejudge a comment or an article just because of someones race or even the last name it was written by. If the public wasn’t so quick to judge someone because they are diverse, the line of communication would be a lot more liquid. Working in PR it is important to know your target audience because of these reasons. If a representative knows the audience has a certain opinion then all comments should be altered towards that argument. It is unfortunate but i notice this happen common. A friend or family member would bring up an article or reporter and mention there race… which is different than what they grew up from. I think he media imposes a lot of these feelings on the public but as a reporter and communicator it is better to communicate on the same playing field.

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  65. zhenpanda

    Unfortunately, I think everyone develop biases in different ways. My personal biases comes from my personal experiences with different people. To suggest that it comes from within is too strict a philosophy.

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