Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

What’s In A Name?

Written by: on March 9, 2023

Two years ago, my husband and a friend of his both began job searching at the same time due to company layoffs. My husband is a white male. His friend is an Hispanic male. My husband submitted between ten to twenty applications. He was hired within the same company in another position within a month. His friend submitted around one hundred applications, went through numerous interviews, and spent four months looking for a new job. Both men are highly qualified in the tech industry with managerial experience. Why did my husband get hired so quickly while his friend worked hard for months before receiving an offer at a different company? My husband would tell you it is due to the names at the top of the resume. He believes that many of the interviews his friend had were simply companies checking an inclusion box for their hiring process when they had no intention of pursuing him further. My husband and I just felt sick over what his friend had to go through to get hired. His friend told us this was normal for him and has shared other examples of similar discrimination. This friend recently purchased a home in an affluent neighborhood. The first time he met his neighbors, they assumed that he was renting.

This reminds me of the words of Eliza Doolittle in the movie My Fair Lady, “The difference between a flower girl and a lady is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.”[i] She goes on to explain that Professor Henry Higgins always treats her as a “common flower girl,” while Colonel Pickering treats her like a lady. Pragya Agarwal describes this type of behavior in her book Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias. She writes, “These terms are now being used to explain everyday discriminatory behavior.”[ii] Agarwal further explains, “Not all bias is implicit. Unconscious bias does not explain all prejudice and discrimination… Awareness is the first step. Only then can we begin to address it.”[iii] Unconscious bias comes in many forms beyond the obvious of gender, racial, or social discrimination. In her book, she discusses many subtle ways in which we form unconscious bias. Homophily, “the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others,” is one form.[iv] Agarwal argues that “People want to be with people like themselves.”[v] She talks about looks, accents, race, and other ways in which we seek the familiar.

“It can also be reliably shown through brain imaging that people are not just favourably inclined towards people who are the same as them (in-group favouritism or familiarity and confirmation bias) but also often actively biased against those who are outside their group (out-group derogation).”[vi]

Not only do we seek the familiar, but we reject the unfamiliar. Our dear friend faced rejection repeatedly in his job hunt because he did not meet the unconscious requirement of familiarity. If it is unconscious, do we have any hope of overcoming it? Recognizing that they exist is the first step. Then we must begin to diversify our interactions.

“The more positive contact we have with people from different ethnic groups, the less likely we are to form the notion of threat associated with unfamiliar faces, and the less likely we are to imbibe the stereotypical messages that we receive from words and images in the media around us. Diversity therefore becomes critical, especially for our children, to normalise the multicultural world that we live in.” [vii]

One of my favorite things about our cohort is the diversity, not only of gender and race, but also of ideas, viewpoints, and passions. I am grateful to be encouraged and challenged each week by our interactions. I am inspired to seek out experiences that are new and different. I lean into the Global Perspectives aspect of this program so that I may confront my own unconscious bias. Last weekend, my husband and I went to a basketball game in Sacramento. Walking along the streets of downtown near the arena, I noticed the people around me. As we passed by people who looked different than me, I consciously challenged my thoughts. I ignored that first split second urge to move away, to clutch my purse tighter out of fear.

“We need to take responsibility for our inherent biases, and that’s when we can take control of them. Unconscious bias is also problematic to capture and accurately pinpoint because it is hidden and can often be in contrast to what we consider our beliefs and associations to be.”[viii]

I have not conquered my unconscious bias, but I am taking control of what I can.


[i] My Fair Lady, directed by George Cukor (1964, Warner Bros).

[ii] Pragya Agarwal, Sway: Unraveling Unconscious Bias. (London, Bloomsbury Sigma, 2020), pg. 10.

[iii] Pragya, pg. 11.

[iv] Ibid., pg. 152.

[v] Ibid., pg. 152.

[vi] Ibid., pg. 99.

[vii] Ibid., pg. 93.

[viii] Ibid., pg. 17.

About the Author


Becca Hald

Becca is an ordained Foursquare minister, serving as the Online Community Pastor at Shepherd's House Church. She has over twenty-five years of leadership experience both inside and outside the church. Becca has served her community in many capacities ranging from Administrative Assistant and Children’s Ministry Director to Secretary and President of multiple school organizations. She and her husband, Andrew have been married for over 25 years. They have two adult children, Drew and Evelyn. Her great passion is to equip others, to raise awareness about mental health, and to help reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health issues. In her free time, she loves going to Disneyland, reading, sewing, and making cards.

11 responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Kristy Newport says:

    Great blog! I enjoyed how you shared about your friend in his job search. wow.
    I liked the quotes you shared:
    “The more positive contact we have with people from different ethnic groups, the less likely we are to form the notion of threat associated with unfamiliar faces, and the less likely we are to imbibe the
    stereotypical messages that we receive from words and images in the media around us”

    I am curious what you think about the negative contact/exposure/news we have with those of different ethnicities and how this possibly compounds our negative biases? Just today I was counseling someone who was held at gun point after people had broken into her home and robbed her. I am praying that she will not have a negative bias towards those who are of the ethnic group who assaulted her. I hope she comes into positive contact with people with diverse ethnic backgrounds.

    I always hear your bright/upbeat voice come through your blogs. This one included.

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Hi Kristy, yes, I definitely think negative contact or exposure amplifies our unconscious bias. After I completed my Master of Divinity, a friend introduced me to a woman on the doctoral team for Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, suggesting that I consider AGTS for my doctoral work instead of The King’s University. Prior to meeting Lois, my only experience with anyone in AG was a cousin of my mother-in-law. This cousin was not a very pleasant person. She was brash, rude, and unfriendly to people. I remember praying and saying to God, I know that she is only one person, not representative of the entirety of AG, but God, please help me to have some positive experiences so she does not color my decision on where to pursue a doctorate. I crossed paths with many wonderful AG men and women at that conference and it helped to change my view. I pray that your client will encounter many positive experiences to overcome the negative experience.

  2. mm David Beavis says:

    Hi Becca,

    Thank you for sharing this story about your husband and his friend. Incredibly sad, but it’s the unfortunate reality that will be present until unconscious biases are taken seriously (particularly by us white people).

    Your story reminded me of a time when I was with my best friend who is Latino. We were walking in his neighborhood having meaningful conversation. He walked past a neighbor and said hi. She looked confused. He then introduced himself and pointed out which duplex he lived in. She responded with “Oh, I thought you were one of the landscapers.” He clarified, and then we walked away. I was shocked. But he said, “Don’t worry. You get used to it.” To this day, I wish I would have had the presence of mind to kindly confront this neighbor on her unconscious bias.

    Thank you for your post Becca!

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you for sharing David. I am sure we all have experiences like that where we wish we would have said something. It reminds me of the television show “What Would You Do.” May we remember the times we did not say something and speak up next time.

  3. Becca thanks a well-done post. Segregation due to race is unfortunate yet happens all the time. Loved your conclusion “I have not conquered my unconscious bias, but I am taking control of what I can.” A good starting point for all of us is awareness.

  4. Tonette Kellett says:


    I enjoyed your post. Awareness of our own biases is definitely the starting point for all of us. I am curious about what steps you will take to help identify biases in yourself. It’s difficult because they’re hidden from us.

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you Tonette. In response to your question, I ask my friends to call me out on my words or actions that exhibit racism or bias. I seek to learn and grow. I ask questions. We now live in an area with a high LGBTQ community, so I have had many conversations with my daughter and several of her friends because they have experience and knowledge that I do not. And mostly, I pray that the Lord would give me His eyes and His heart for people.

  5. mm Audrey Robinson says:

    I admire how you take responsibility and you are not afraid to admit you have things about yourself to overcome. You are a rare gem.

    Your post brought out two important keys: acknowledging that implicit bias exists in oneself and taking steps to be around people who are different. Each one takes courage. How can we convince others to do the same?

    • mm Becca Hald says:

      Thank you Audrey. It has taken years of hard work and self reflection to get here. I pray that I never stop growing and learning. As for convincing others, I think the best way is to live by example. Jesus tells us to go into all the world. We should befriend people who do not look like us, who are different not just in the color of their skin, but in beliefs, in temperament, in size, in social standing, in every way possible. Instead of partaking in bias behavior, call it out for what it is. And when we see it in those we love, pray for the Lord to open their eyes and soften their heart.

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