racism without racists

Nick Kristoff’s column speaks directly to our conversation last week about unconscious attitudes about race.  While only 10 percent harbor overtly racist views, experiments show that whites will make racially-based judgments without being aware of it (one speculation for why Obama is not further ahead in the polls in view of the conditions otherwise favoring Democrats).

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4 Responses to “racism without racists”

  1. Farah Says:

    I completly agree with Kristoff’s column about racism without racists. Just like we discussed in class, most people are unaware that they are making racist remarks when talking about a certain race. People may tend to deny they are racist, not knowing that unconsciously, they may make a joke or say a statement that is rather offensive. It is usually not intentional, but something, that I believe, everyone just needs to work on.

  2. Jasmin Sun Says:

    Though this argument deserves some merit (mainly, and maybe only due to its empirical evidence), I still disagree with the idea. I suppose that people naturally tend towards people of the dominant race, in an attempt to blend and adapt, but the idea of “non-racist” people subconsciously acting racist is a bit far-fetched. It is true that there are the extreme conservatives who wouldn’t give a minority candidate a chance, but isn’t it also true that the people that answered the surveys simply put down the most socially acceptable answer? I have grown up understanding the importance of racial equality, but as a minority myself I know that there is no such thing, there is only tolerance. However I also know that the idea of racism and racist people is generally frowned upon, and people are encouraged to be more open minded and accepting; possibly leading them to put down the “clearest” answer on the anonymous survey.

    In either case, I truly hope this is a case lying surveyors, because I certainly don’t want a mere 38% chance of someone calling for help if I’m on the floor experiencing a seizure.

  3. Allie Says:

    I completely agree that subtle racism still exists. Unfortunately I feel like it was ingrained in southern culture for so long that it’s going to take a while for all of us to be completely color blind. Fortunately, we’ve made huge strides over the years.

    But I have an interesting thought. Is it really because of Obama’s skin color that some people aren’t voting for him, or the fact that we have never had a black President and people are simply afraid of this change (how ironic) and want to stick with what is comfortable?
    Some people are afraid or wary of the unknown.

  4. Destinee Says:

    I think that this article highlights a huge problem here in the United States…The biggest issue is not the fact that racism or “subliminal racism” exists, but (many times) the unwillingness of “subliminal racists” to acknowledge the problem.

    As humans, it is never comfortable to be wrong, especially when something ugly a bout ourselves is highlighted. I gather from both other people’s research, and my own experience that for many whites, deciding to change is essentially admitting to a problem they wish didn’t exist. It’s easy to make “gradual changes” when your life experiences are never determined by race. I think that having an African American candidate for a major party forces the “subliminal racism” to the forefront, and forces people to decide whether they will deal with it…or pretend it isn’t there.

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