Bias in Peer Mentoring Relationships (part 1)
By recognizing and acknowledging the existence of biases in peer-to-peer support, we can become more self-aware and critical of our thoughts, attitudes and actions. It is important for peer supporters to understand their own positionality, standpoints and their place in society regarding power and privilege. This is particularly important when engaging with others. This helps us to be mindful of the unequal power dynamic that might exist between people and thus seek to create a balanced relationship.
For example, when a white peer supporter works with a racialized support recipient, they may not be aware of the systemic barriers and challenges the recipient faces due to their race, such as discrimination and prejudice. This lack of awareness could lead to the peer supporter imposing their own perspective on the recipient or not being attentive to, or not seeking to understand the recipient's experiences and needs. By recognizing their own positionality, peer supporters can work to create a more equitable peer relationship and help to empower support recipients by fostering an environment of respect and understanding.
Next, we will explore the implications of bias in more depth and provide strategies to