Yes my upbringing and school has had a strong impact on the biases I may hold but also that I dont hold. When I was growing up my parents tried very hard to not portray any of their built in bias on me in hopes that I would feel empowered enough to form my own opinions. They always told me that I can play with anyone I wanted to, and this really stuck with me. I found that this impacted me immensely in a positive way. I was never the kid looking at other children that had different attributes than me differently. When I was in grade 3 there was this Little boy that just immigrated to Canada from Nigeria. My teacher chose to seat him right beside me and trusted me to show him around the school and get him all settled in for the first couple of weeks. I didn’t think to hesitate at all, yet almost all of the other children in my class seemed to not like this little boy. I never understood why until a few months ago after a lecture in this class. The other kids in my class already, considering we were only 12, had formed this bias. But to this day me and that once little boy are best friends and I am so grateful that my parents did not push their potential biases onto me.
I feel that the rest of the kids in my class were potentially reinforced with these biases at home but also when I went to school my teacher did not force the same strategies as my parents did. I was always in a fairly diverse classroom every year yet all I can remember being renfoced was story books with little girls with fair skin, and bright blue eyes or the family with the working father and the stay at home mother with their two children. This was something I never really thought to be problematic until now. I couldn’t imagine how some of my classmates were feeling when this was constantly pushed as the “normal” in schools yet so many children did not grow up with a mother, father, and another sibling. So many students that were not born with fair skin and blue eyes. As Kumasiro states “teaching and learning English literature In ways that challenge oppression requires changing what we read.”(2009, P1). This idea of “normal” put a strong lens on the majority of my classmates, and if my parents opened my eyes to this preconceived idea of “normal” my thoughts could have been altered as well. There needs to be a change and it can start with the teachers.