Amusing video by Chris Rock in which he appeals to white voters, saying that they should vote for Obama because Obama is white.
Here is a link to a great quiz from Race: Power of an Illusion. It challenges assumptions and educates all in 10 questions. I included screen clips of two of the questions I got wrong. Take the quiz to find out the answers.
According to an AP survey:
“In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell” (Washington Post).
This information saddens me even though it does show some progress over time. Of course it does not show that electing Barack Obama has turned America into a racial nirvana.
Here are two of sets of questions and results from the AP PDF. The explicit section of the question relied on a series of questions such as these using a range of adjectives both positive, like dependable, and negative, like lazy.
Certainly the fact fewer people see the phrase “Determined to Succeed” as applying to blacks shows bias. However, I know I would be one of the people who refused to answer on the grounds that I find it inappropriate to make such large scale generalizations. I wonder how many people like me who try to be racially progressive took themselves out of the mix on principle.
I live in the world of children’s Halloween costumes witch for the most part are fun and innocuous, so I had forgotten about all the possible bad, offensive, stereotypical costumes that adults have on occasion donned. That is until various blogs I follow started putting up preventative educational posts on costumes to avoid and how to gently inform the individual in blackface, or wearing a poncho and riding donkey, or sporting a sexy Indian princess costume that such cultural misappropriation is not right.
The best summary I have seen is a slideshow on The Root which goes over all sorts of arguments made in favor of insensitive costumes and refutes them.
The best immediate visual response to these costumes comes from a campaign by STARS (Students Teaching about Racism in Society) at Ohio University.
Check out this data from today’s Gallup poll asking individuals ”Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?”
The overall percentage identifying as LGBT was 3.4%, but the numbers by race and ethnicity are what struck me. My biases and assumptions would have led me to think the numbers for the nonwhites would be lower than for the whites. I am not sure where I picked up those biases and assumptions but now I see I am wrong, at least according to this data.
Does it matter if an online school has a diverse faculty?
I was looking at the teachers page for one online school and noticed that all the teachers seem to be white or Asian based on my quick visual appraisal. However, there is no classroom, so there is not the daily interaction. Whether or not the person looks like me, and thus I can do this, be an expert at this like s/he is would might not be as much as an issue. Flipping things around, if the teacher cannot see the students, that factor might eliminate bias in terms of who is called on, who receives more guidance, etc. Even better, what if the students and faculty could use pseudonyms and avatars so they could choose what race, gender or other identifiers they wished to present? This seems like a fascinating topic to ponder and to research.
Does working out in a mono-cultural environment foster biases regarding fitness and motivation? I wondered about this question as a walked back to my car after a run in a local park. For the hour I ran, I saw no people of color on the trails. That is as far as I know. I was not conducting a survey and certainly keeping a running tally based on superficial appearance is inaccurate. Still, I saw dozens of people, all of whom appeared white.
This fact makes sense given the location of the park in an outer ring suburb fairly removed from areas where there are large concentrations of people of color, so I am not advocating some kind of program to diversify the park’s clientele.
What I wonder is if working out in an environment like that leads one to draw conclusions. If one never sees people of color, or just people of another racial group, workout, does one then make assumptions about the lack of fitness or lack of health related motivation of people of color?
My hypothesis would be that, no, such biases do not develop, mostly because people watch sports on TV and see people of all races who obviously pursue fitness. I would be interested in seeing a study done on a college campus where one group works out in a racially mixed gym and the other in a mono-cultural gym and then both groups are asked questions as to how they perceive the fitness related activities of other groups.
I had seen these evolution graphics before but never thought of them in the context of race until reading Lisa Wade’s analysis at Sociological Images. How could I have missed the way the images move from light to dark as they move from past to present? As a thought experiment I am pondering what these progressions would look like if they did not end up with a white male.
Imagine an institution that remembers long serving employees by putting up pictures of them on a wall in a main hallway. This tradition has been in place for a long time so there are many pictures. The problem, all of the honored former employees are white. The institution wants customers, employees, visitors and others who walk down that main hall to feel welcome regardless of race. The institution does not want to present an image as a historically white place. What should they do with the photos?
1. Keep the photos where they are. They represent the history of the institution. At some point an employee of color will stay long enough to be honored on that wall.
2. Move the photos to a less prominent wall preserving history but in such a way that its monochromatic nature is not a striking feature of daily life.
3. Add another wall of photos of famous customers or long time community partners making sure this wall contains diverse photos to counterbalance the wall of white retirees.
4. Take the photos down. Perhaps during the remodeling of the building remove the wall and hence the photos.
5.Take the photos off the wall and put pictures of the individuals on a rotating computerized screen in the hallway, a device set up like a screen saver. Set the delay in such a way that one would have to stand in front of the screen for 10 minutes to realize all those included are white.
I just finished trying this exercise from the Race–Power on an Illusion site where one must sort 16 different photos of individuals into categories by race. It is a very revealing exercise. I was less than 50% accurate. I have never trusted my ability to look at a person and determine his/her race. Now not only am I even less likely to make judgments, but I also realize how subjective such judgments can be.