Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Implicit Racism

Racism can often be hidden in our unconsciousness. Even though as individuals we might work consciously to not be racist, we live in a racist society with a racist legacy. From the moment we are born we are influenced subtly to think of white as good and black as bad. Look at these examples from various media. They are not trying to be racist, but the message they send reinforces racist ideology.

These pictures though very similar, are different in two important areas: the race of the people and the caption.

Lebron James was only the third male to ever be featured on the cover of Vogue and he was the first "black" American ever to be on there. and yet, he is portrayed as an angry gorilla. Here is a critique from blackademics.  And here is one from ESPN.com

Harvard has been conducting an ongoing study of how we implicitly associate certain traits with being good or bad. You can take the survey here. Click on Demo first.

See how this implicit racism shows up even within the same minority groups that are being discriminated against.

Some examples of implicit bias are listed below.  Please choose an article and examine it for:
1.  What is the implicit bias that the article examines?
2. Why is this bias "implicit"?
2. What person or group is being biased against whom?

A)Read this SHS basketball article that is full of implicit bias

Then checkout this post showing that Jewish players were dominant in basketball in the first half of the 20th century.

B)And another example of implicit bias is how people react in a split second when they confront someone with a weapon.  See here for that.

C)Here is an article showing that traffic stops in Illinois have an implicit racial bias:

D)This study shows a racial bias in NBA foul calling.

E)Here is a study showing that immigrants are treated differently based on skin color.

F)Having an African American sounding name will result in biased treatment as well.

Here are a number of other examples (A NY Police Lt., Harvard President, State Senator Obama) from the sociologists toolbox.

And this video from What Would You Do showing how people are more quick to be suspicious and to call the police if they see a black man committing the same crime as a white man.


Finally, this video called Slip of the Tongue uses slam poetry to explore how one girl stands strong to embrace her identity
without giving in to popular pressure to change who she is. I think it is a motivating strong voice.
Here is an example of implicit bias from the NY Times about Baltimore and the Texas biker fight.


  1. Well that was mildly horrifying, but also enlightening as to how the other half lives. That one girl who relaxes her hair(from the beginning?)seems the most memorable to me in that she acknowledges her "race" and doesn't let it define her whereas some of her family can't accept what they are. The fact her aunts are in such a position is a reflection on the intensity of American racism. Here's a call to tolerance again!

  2. Here Here! 3 cheers for acceptance! hip hip...hip hip...hip hip...

  3. This isn't about this post - it's about mine on your former student turned soldier. This one line from the article you sent me gave me chills. "If you've never hunted humans, if you've never been hunted, if you haven't been shot at on a regular basis, one thing you could try is to appreciate what this person has been through. Then get down on your knees and pray, and thank your lucky stars it wasn't you."

    Thank you for sending me this Sal, it was highly enlightening.