Intuition, Implicit Bias, & Learning To Trust Ourselves

Twice in the past week I have been in spaces where a white woman has pointed out the role of implicit bias in intuition. This is true, and I’m glad we’re working to engage with that truth more directly. As I once heard Congresswoman Maxine Waters advise, it is wise to investigate and examine our instincts, impulses, and intuition. I also wonder how many of us (white women) are distorting this wise question and internalizing a belief that we cannot trust our intuition because it is inherently, implicitly biased. This tortured interpretation is solely the responsibility of white women — the message and the messenger are correct, and it is our own woundedness that distorts this wise question into paralyzing insecurity and self-doubt.

I don’t know any way to approach deep equity, collective liberation, decolonization, and anti-racism work that is not rooted in love, and specifically grown from a place of self-love. And I don’t know how to practice self-love without learning how to trust myself.

How can we trust ourselves when white women have proven ourselves untrustworthy time and again? How can we trust ourselves when we know that we are soaked to the bone in white dominance, that it is deeply embedded in our bodies and our brains?

More and more I am understanding and experiencing both/and thinking, developing our capacity to hold multiple simultaneous truths, as a central tenet of deep equity and systems change work. I am both inherently worthy, a Divine expression of the fabric of the universe, and a settler colonizer steeped in dominance and white supremacist delusion. When I speak / think / act I am doing my best to show up from my truest nature, from the best parts of myself, and I am also inevitably showing up with all of the toxic baggage from the systems of oppression that I have been socialized into.

So, for the white women who are feeling frozen in shame and self-doubt, I hope that we can start believing that we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater — we don’t have to distrust our intuition as we unlearn white dominance. Grounded in this belief, may we do the intentional inner work of remembering who we really are, and show up for our collective liberation from this deeper, more grounded, more steady place.

From Lama Rod Owens:

I am a consultant & facilitator in the Deep South dedicated to collective liberation, rooted in systems thinking and deep equity.