Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Psychology of Racism - I'm not a racist. I think???

I think it's very important that we strive to understand why we do what we do as a society. While promoting this blog, I've seen many crazy comments regarding people's perception of Rev. Wright, Trinity UCC, and people's ideas about racism in general. Do we all have the same understanding of the concept of racism, and if not, where do we draw our understanding of the issue? Based on my very limited study of psychology and sociology, it would seem that many feel that the masses don't even have the time to think that deeply about these types of things which would explain, for me, the very emotional and irrational reactions I've seen from folks over the last few weeks. I'm praying that since the nation has been given this "directive" to attempt to understand the issue of race and racism, that I might offer something beneficial.

Harvard psychologist, Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji, delivered a lecture titled "Paradoxes of Mind & Society" at the Yale University Department of Psychology. Dr. Banaji describes her research into the unconscious prejudices that human beings may carry below the threshold of consciousness. She is also a key contributor for the development of the "Implicit Association Test" (IAT), which is used in a range of experiments to measure the magnitude of prejudices that may lie in the subconscious of the test taker.
I think her lecture could even give some insight about the responses I've seen to Jeremiah Wrights 30 seconds of controversial sermon...

This video may be viewed in it's entirety along with a description and transcript at the following link. I've also provided other resources so that those who care to understand can begin to see the issue of race through an academic lens.

Democratic Vistas
http://www.yale.edu/terc/democracy/media/jan23.htm

Lecture Date: January 23, 2001
Additional Research Information:

Harvard University: Research Matters
http://www.researchmatters.harvard.edu/story.php?article_id=419
WashingtonPost.com: See No Bias
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A27067-2005Jan21?language=printer

Scientific American: The Implicit Prejudice
http://sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=0004B0F0-7813-146C-ADB783414B7F0000

Project Implicit®
http://www.projectimplicit.net/

University of Washington: The Unconscious Roots of Racism
http://web.psych.washington.edu/news/story.php?news_id=44

University of Michigan Health System: Your Child & Television
http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/yourchild/tv.htm

The Media Awareness Network: Kids & Racial Stereotypes
http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/tip_sheets/racial_tip.cfm

Gladwell.com: The Second Mind (Blink)
http://www.gladwell.com/blink/blink_excerpt1.html

6 comments:

Drew said...

From UCCTRUTHS.com:

Thomas plays race card to dodge Wright criticism
Thursday, April 03, 2008

The effort to have a national conversation on race would be admirable had it not been hastily called for in response to the criticism that Thomas and the UCC has been facing in defense of comments in sermons and in publications by Trinity's former minister, Jeremiah Wright, Jr. who did not even attend the press conference. As disgusting and vulgar as it sounds, Thomas appears to be playing the race card to dodge the criticism which ultimately undermines the very conversation on race that he and others are seeking.

The consequences of this will be damaging on a number of levels. First, Thomas has made it pretty clear that he's not going to actually respond to the concerns raised within and outside of the denomination on Wright. Like so many other actions he and the national office have taken, it will be local pastors left to react and they really aren't being given much to work with here.

Second, members of the UCC are pretty wise to what is going on here. The problem isn't race, it's about Wright's comments and Thomas' reaction to them.

Finally, all this has really done is guarantee that this issue won't die down anytime soon.

The Uppity Negro said...

well, I think this brings to light that many of us operate with different understandings of racism. I was quite clear of that when Joy Behar of The View (isn't that a wonderful source of information) pulled out her sociology degree and gave lil' Miss Elizabeth a working definition of racism. Furthermore the fact that the wonderful Bill O'Reilly included that clip of Behar's definition in his piece about stupid comments of the past week.

Let's just say that anybody who says that blacks are using "reverse racism" (I REALLY wanna know what that is) or practicing "racism" needs to just go somewhere and saddown!

inchoate said...

As my wife and I read the statements attributed to Pastor Jeremiah Wright in the press,
we found ourselves in agreement with, quite literally, every single one. That he would
be maligned for having the dignity to articulate a clear and coherent critique is hugely
disappointing. Although my cynicism regarding the American political blindness should
have prepared me, I found myself stirred to anger at the misguided vitriol spewed in his
direction.

Thank you for following your former pastor's lead -- your commitment to genuine social awakening is deeply appreciated. I am
proud that such upright individuals still exist, and I hope the myopic and reflexive
criticism cast towards Trinity UCC simply rolls off your back.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this website is done by a fool. Read our work on you in www.stop-obama.org brother, and see what you've got to say for yourself.

Aint question of interpreting racism, is a question of your Black obsession with inferiority. What Wright says impacts how you see the world. It impacts where your anger goes, and what u is ending up doing.

Yuo cant tell the difference between right and wrong, nor do you understand the message of Christ - all thansk to your Pastor.

truthToPower said...

the last anon comment.... I think you're the fools... You think black inferiority is taught by black preachers huh... so there are no racial double standards in this world is that what you're saying.
Who taught PA governor Rendell black inferiority when he told the world that white working class voters would never vote for a black man huh?
Who taught michelle obama's former college room mate about black inferiority when her mother found out she had a black room mate and insisted that she be moved huh....
racism still exist.. just like sexism class ism and homophobia still exist to try to deny that as a fact only shows your lack of critical thinking skills.

Anonymous said...

Trinity! Now that speaks volume. United! That really speaks volume. Church of Christ! I'm glad we have options in America. The reality is this, when you hear something in a sermon you don't necessarily agree with - THE CHURCH as well as those that hear the words that don't speak to the message of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have a duty and responsibility to hold in "Account" the sermon when the platform is being used in a manner to reflect "selfish" "Ominus" views that are not of the mass nor reflect the teachings of JESUS! Not, Wright! Many blacks began to leave the southern or traditional churches because "Rev." didn't teach or speak from scription - too much "RANTS" - and then come out with this "HOLY THAN THY" mentatility wanting to seem more than someone he "MENTOR" went as far as trying to verbally "HARM" "OMINOUS" the one person that attempted to make him no less than what we is supposed to be, a "PASTOR" - he isn't - he wants to be Revered!"Like you, we are all PRAYING for him" Many "Rev." think the only way you can see GOD or come to know GOD is through them and that you need to get behind them in order for that to happen - if they are speaking for me, I like my chances speaking to GOD directly.... :-), so it wasn't the Press Conference, he finally spoke his HEART much like he did in your CHURCH.