Unlearning Racism

Habits at Work is a company fueled by the idea that knowledge is not enough to create behavior change.

Real transformation requires DOING.

It requires practice with feedback, which can come from a friend, a colleague, a coach, or a community.

“Deliberate practice” is the key to getting better in any facet of life or work.

This type of practice requires that we have a clear “mental model” of what excellence looks like for a specific skill or habit.

The problem is, many of us have mental models that prevent us from practicing the habits that support a just society.

So, we’re urging you to practice a new skill: UNLEARNING.

When we think of learning, we tend to see it as an additive process where we add new knowledge to our existing mental library or mental model.

Perhaps a more powerful means of adding is subtracting.

Unlearning requires that we rid ourselves of something that we previously learned that may no longer be serving us or that might truly be hurting us (or others).

“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

– Mark Twain

Think about a bad habit that you either used to have or still have today. What do you need to unlearn in support of eliminating that habit?

Perhaps it’s a limiting belief like, “Every time I try to lose weight I fail. What’s the use?!” Maybe it’s a societal norm that you’ve come to identify with, such as unachievable beauty standards.

According to this Harvard Business Review article, unlearning has three parts:

  1. Recognize that the old mental model is no longer relevant or effective.
  2. Find or create a new model that can better achieve your goals.
  3. Ingrain the new mental habits.

Now, before you jump too far down the rabbit hole there, we’d like to call your attention to a bigger unlearning that needs to take place: UNLEARNING RACISM.

We cannot claim to have the answers for you to this unlearning process.

What we can offer is our commitment to doing this unlearning ourselves, as well as some resources we’ve found to help you and your organization on your respective journey as we embark on our own.