Author Archives: Cynthia Eby

Travels with Helen

Today’s post is guest written by my husband, David. He has watched me in action over the years, and this is the story of some things he has learned.

In 25 years of marriage to Helen, I’ve learned a lot about my unconscious biases. I was raised on an entirely family-run farm in Oregon. When my older brother took Spanish in high school, I remember wondering why he would do that. Spanish was the language of the uneducated. They were migrant workers and probably illiterate. I had no contact with them, but I had biases against them anyway.

When we have these biases, they are not consciously chosen. It’s just how things are. We claim to be unbiased, but only because we don’t know any better.

This year, over Memorial Day Weekend, Helen and I spent our time at the Oregon Coast. We ate at a restaurant with an obvious Mexican slant in its menu, and Helen struck up a conversation with our server. After talking in English for a while, they switched to Spanish, and the words really started to fly! I don’t speak Spanish, so I had to get a summary from Helen afterwards. The server’s story is one that I’m beginning to realize is extremely common among the Hispanics in the US.

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