• Danica Thurber

Art activity: Recognize your worldview bias

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

The Black Lives Matter movement, and all its predecessors, aren't new. But recent happenings like the murder of George Floyd, along with the protests and media coverage it brought - has brought issues of social justice into the forefront of white Americans' minds - which is exactly where change is possible.

This simple art activity takes the word "world view" literally. It demonstrates that where you live and where you pay attention to inevitably shape your understanding of the world.

I'm a blonde Caucasian woman, and I live in Boise, ID where our population is 89% white.

However, I speak a second language (Spanish), I traveled to Costa Rica, and Spain, and spent a summer teaching art and English in Nicaragua. In college, I prided myself in my ability to befriend international students and in my love of learning about other cultures. I married a Canadian (I know that's not terribly out of the way of the USA, but it's still outside the borders!).

And yet, I am still a blonde Caucasian woman living in Boise, ID.

The fact that white America is still waking up to the racial disparities among us, and the fact that many still deny these disparities exist - it's a facet of our own experience, which in my opinion, is the biggest factor that makes up our personal bias. (But hey that's my opinion, which is also based on my experiences and personal beliefs...)

Let me put it another way, then:

We can try our best to walk in another's shoes, but even if we succeed, it's still us who are walking in them.

When I vote, when I talk with others, when I support local businesses, when I make friends, it's as a white person. For me, the first step towards becoming an aware citizen- one who recognizes injustice and supports and fights for the rights of all - is to recognize my personal biases.

I hope that this simple exercise helps YOU find your own biases. What you do with what you discover is up to you.

Note: If you're a teacher or other great person of influence, please feel free to use this activity! No permission needed for this one. In fact, I encourage you to share.

OK ready? Get out a pen and paper. Draw 3 circles (don't worry, they don't have to be perfect).

Now, draw the globe from 3 different points of view. You choose which ones (don't worry, it won't be perfect).

Very important: no cheating and looking it up on your phone! The point is to do this from memory.

Speaking of cheating, don't proceed scrolling until you you've done the exercise yourself! I don't want to taint your perspective with mine.

Note: This part of the exercise is taken straight from the book "Coffee Break Sketching". You can get the book here.

When you've done it, now's the chance to learn (this part isn't from "Coffee Break Sketching"). Grab your phone and google the view you were trying to draw out. Notice similarities and differences. Make lots of observations!

Here's what I observed in my 3 drawings:

Alright, now ask yourself why did you choose those 3 views? Observe what worldview you didn't capture. Maybe you consciously avoided one, like I did:

Next, make inferences from your observations. What have you learned about how you see the world?

Please share: What were your results? What have you learned from this exercise?


© 2018 by Thurber Studios LLC