Implicit Bias Impacts our Attitudes and Discourse

2 mins read
The author out canvassing during her run for state legislature in October 2018. Photo from Facebook.

As a candidate for state legislature in 2018, people often asked me: “what makes you qualified to run” (usually in an incredulous or angry tone). I canvassed with a white male candidate a lot. At literally hundreds of doors, NOT ONE PERSON asked him that question.

Lorraine knocking doors in June 2018.

Angry messages often referred to me as bitch, c*nt, girl, or young lady. All equally dismissive.

In an editorial board interview, someone asked me for my sources several times while no one asked my opponent.

I received regular “feedback’ regarding my hair, clothes, facial expressions, smile, tone, body language, ability to parent, etc.

Lorraine campaigning at a local festival with her daughter in August 2018.

People regularly asked how my husband felt about me running for office or if he approved, and how would I balance work and home while running for office?

My husband received praise for being a parent and running the household while I ran for office. Meanwhile, women have always made it possible for men to achieve outside of the home without praise or even respect.

Men who were not experts questioned me and mansplained policy that I spent hours and hours researching, analyzing, and digesting before speaking on them. I would wake up in cold sweats anxious about not being able to answer a question intelligently. When I answered intelligently and thoughtfully, some people said I was an arrogant know it all. I felt a great deal of pressure to represent women as competently as I could but it was difficult to win that one.

Lorraine on the campaign trail, October 2018.

Implicit bias impacts our attitudes and discourse. Period. And men and women are both guilty of all the above.

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Lorraine Wilburn is a mom, wife and lifelong civic advocate. She lives with her husband and two young children in North Canton. She is the founder of Action Together Stark, a grassroots progressive organization.

Throughout her life, Lorraine has always been politically active and engaged in the issues that matter to her, her family, and her community. Born in New Jersey, her family moved to Maryland when she was very young. She was inspired early on as she heard and read stories about her great-grandfather, who worked as a newspaper journalist and White House correspondent. It was through hearing stories of his career, and later, as a young woman sitting at his writing desk and reading his articles, that she developed a passion for politics and learning to speak truth to power.

As early as 12 years old, she volunteered on the Mondale-Ferraro campaign, hoping to help elect the first woman vice president. Then, at the age of 17 she served as a peer counsellor educating young women about reproductive health. This experience led her to work at various domestic violence shelters serving as a volunteer coordinator and advocate for families in crisis. She also served on a community housing task force fighting for the rights of tenants in low income housing. Years later, Lorraine would use her social activist background to help grow the Young Democrats club. Ultimately, she sat on her county’s Democratic Central Committee and championed progressive candidates who would fight for working families and rebuild local historic districts.

After studying Sociology at Towson University, Lorraine found new ways to advocate for women and families in crisis on a global scale by becoming a government contractor in Bethesda, MD for the National Institutes of Health. There she served as an Analyst supporting international vaccine research and clinical trials dedicated to eradicating infectious diseases. Later she worked with Microfinance Transparency, a non-profit promoting transparent microfinance lending practices that offer economic growth and security for women and families in developing countries.

Lorraine moved to Ohio when her husband’s work brought them to North Canton where she spent several years taking care of her family. In response to the 2016 election, she felt a need to connect to her community and out of that grew Action Together Stark. Like so many women, she was looking for a way to volunteer her time, energy, and talents to have a meaningful impact on her community and country. It was the overwhelmingly positive response to Action Together Stark, along with growing tired of not seeing herself or her values represented in government that led Lorraine to this moment. She spent much of 2017 getting to know members of the community through speaking engagements, coordinating volunteer events, and inspiring others to get engaged and raise their voices. She listened to and shares her neighbors concerns about jobs, healthcare, and their children’s safety in an ever-growing digital world.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

“Presidente Incompetente:” On Eve of Pence Visit, Latino Leaders Knock Trump for Broken Promises

Next Story

Why We March

Latest from Ohio

%d bloggers like this: