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Just posted a new piece:
Most racism today is done by those who vow they are not racist. By Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D....
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This "we do racist things, cause racist harm, and perpetrate racism, but we're nor racist" stance is so frustrating. My friend +Gregory Diggs and i have been talking about this for at least 5 years (he's credentialed & I am not) and have battled down to a draw. I think we need more language that will allow better discussion of the topic. What do you think?
 
Mikahil, this is very interesting. I'm going to repost some of this on the blog. Thanks for sharing!
 
I think, +Coqui Negra , that unconscious, unintentional racism is very real and a very important aspect of contemporary racism. This doesn't mean there is not also intentional, politically-motivated racism. Both can exist. Both do exist.
 
I think that pieces like this, acknowledging how pervasive racism truly is, will be of great help to the folks that are actively fighting it in their own lives. While unconscious bias may not be a front page issue, it matters a lot to in trying to be rid of it, or at least function in full knowledge of it.

I am glad to see work being done in this area. But it does not usually come with ideas on how to fight it, which is what I would really like to see.
 
+Mikhail Lyubansky Yes both do exist...but the unconscious bias is ..well, unconscious. And therefore, naming it the same thing as the intentional makes it hard to get people to accept. Because no one I know admits that there is any racism in the whole 2 blocks surrounding them, yet there is racism "out there". If there were different terms for it, maybe it would help the discussion? Just thinking out loud
 
Not to oversimplify it, but the way to fight unconscious bias is 1. to become aware that it exists, 2. learn to recognize your own bias, and 3. be willing to make the hard choice to override unconscious bias with conscious action. +Cloris PatientC
 
Agreed, +Mikhail Lyubansky . Working to be anti-racist and raise anti-racist Minions is sometimes an overwhelmingly depressing battle. Especially when you start delving into subjects like your article. Which is good, and necessary, and helpful - I do not mean to demean your work. Actually, I am not quite sure what I am trying to say or do here, apologies for getting my angst all over your thread.
 
As a Black woman in America, I gotta roll my eyes at this mess. White folks STAY late on this shit.
 
Bias is bias, whether it is intentional or not, conscious or not. Racism is Racism. Whether it is intentional or not, conscious or not.

I actually don't have a problem with talking about the similarities or differences between those. The challenge is when the exploration of unconscious racism...it thought of and discussed as very different from conscious racism. Particularly when it is employed to help racists feel more comfortable about being racist.

Right? So let's set up a conflict for a moment. I'll do two:

1) a person of color applies for a job. The individual or committee who is hiring...harbors unconscious racism. And so there is no overt statement or conversation about hate or stereotyping about race. But there is discussion about whether or not the candidate is a good "fit". "S/he looks good on paper and gives a good interview, but can s/he write? Or speak in front of the Board? " And so forth. Questions that may not come up with an Anglo candidate. It is not conscious...but something is just not "right"...associated with race.

At the end of the day, if the candidate does not get the job due to unconscious racism...it is still racism. With consequences and victims.

2) Trayvon Martin. So some might want to debate about conscious vs. unconscious racism. But when folks act on that...regardless of source or motivation...the victim is just as harmed...just as dead.

So the premise (not the first one, there are some better takes on "Racism without Racists) in the article fails. Racism is Racism. Whether it is conscious or unconscious.
 
+Mikhail Lyubansky , some of this does not seem to be new. It seems to be a repackaging of the fall out of institutionalized racism. Right? Where society is already set up to treat subordinated minorities differently. Such that "regular" people...can participate in race-based discrimination...without intent...they might just be participating in everyday, "normal" activity.

I'll give the classic example from psychology...which is more than 30 years old by now and we generally "know better." But it is a good way to show what I mean.

In mainstream America, we still have a "value" about making eye contact as evidence of being truthful and trustworthy. In the past, this went so far as to be played out...such that if a person does not meet eye contact...it is interpreted as not being "able" to make eye contact...because there is deception, untruthfulleness involved. They way that played out...with people of color...in various settings...is that "suspects" were demonstrated to be lying...and "guilty"...by the observation of eye contact or lack, thereof. And they were sanctioned or punished as a result.

There was no understanding or consideration of the fact that in some cultures, making eye contact is a sign of disrespect. Such that the actual avoidance of eye contact can be a cultural artifact...different than the mainstream. Without intending to do harm, a member of the dominant culture...imposes sanction on a member of a subordinated culture...not because of intent...or wrongdoing. But because the cultural lens in play...is "only" the white, mainstream culture. This is racism. Intended or not. And the perpetrators...are racists. Intended or not.

Because it is a supremacy stance. That "everybody knows"...that if you don't make eye contact...you are lying. Being deceptive. When this is not really "true".

That everybody knows...if you are Black and in a hoodie, you are a threat, and suspicious.

Regardless of intent. These things are racist. Regardless of consciousness. Once these things are institutionalized, intent and consciousnees are important...but secondary to the process of racism. Because regular, everyday people...can be racists...regardless of knowing that they are racist or intending to be racist.
 
+Coqui Negra I disagree. Naming it as racism is an important, first step. It actually minimizes confusion. People resist it...yes. Especially the good, nice, liberal racists. Because the term "racist" most commonly connotes hatred and skin heads and neo nazis and so forth. Yes. It is a barrier to understanding and acceptance.

But so what? The alternatives are less productive.

If you are dealing with rape and sexism...it is important to name that stuff. Conscious or unconscious. There simply is no polite way to explain to people that if you didn't understand that no means no...you might not be a rapist. That if you didn't understand that blonde jokes and sending pornographic images to female colleagues...might not be sexist...if the perpetrator...was not aware or conscious of the fact.

Different terms do not make things easier. They usually only serve to confuse the perpetrators. To make them feel a little better or become a little more comfortable...at the expense of the victims.

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In the past, in the South...or you can just look at pictures of that "Strange Fruit" burnt and hanging from a tree. Where there is a crowd of regular, everyday white folks...gathered around, smiling, cheering and drinking cold drinks...enjoying the celebration. Most of those in the crowd...might not hate Negroes at all. It's just a regular lynching and celebration. After all. "They just Negroes. We don't hate Negroes. Negroes are our best Help. "
 
Thanks for the thoughtful comments, +Gregory Diggs I'm heading out of town for a few days and can't respond but will do so as soon as I can.
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