In Saturday's Globe and Mail writer Pasha Malla wrote about keeping something he calls a racism journal.
"This was inspired by the actor Michael Richards, whose bigoted onstage outburst in 2006, made everyone gasp "Not Kramer!" and for a week or two enjoy Seinfeld a little less."
"Over a twelve-month period, every time I made an assertion, had a thought or acted on an attitude based on race, I did my best to stop and write it down. This proved useful in recognizing how I think and interact with people of other races, and brought into shocking relief how often my behaviour is based in prejudice or stereotype. My racism journal has revealed that, although I conduct myself publicly in a way that conforms to Canadian political correctness, what I'm often thinking, and occasionally doing, is often very racist indeed," Mr. Malla writes.
In a companion article , Michael Inzlicht, an experimental psychologist who explores how stereotypes and prejudice affect individuals, says be believes racism has mutated over the past few decades.
Because it is no longer socially acceptable to express any antipathy toward any group based on any category, Dr. Inzlicht believes that we now have two types of prejudice: modern and implicit.
"A modern racist is someone who hides their racism behind things like objections to social policies. But the deeper issue," explains Dr. Inzlicht, "is that there are some people who are prejudiced and have stereotyped views who aren't aware of it themselves. This is probably true for many, if not most of the people in our society. It is called implicit prejudice."
As to how to overcome this type of prejudice, Dr. Inzlicht calls it a "million-dollar question."
What do you think? Do you worry you are racist? Do you think there is modern and implicit racism? Dr. Inzlicht will be live online Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET to answer your queries and comments."
Join the Conversation at that time or submit a question in advance.
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Your questions and Dr. Inzlicht's answers will appear at the bottom of this page when the discussion begins.
Micah Toub, globeandmail.com: Dr. Inzlicht, thanks for answering our reader questions today. I thought I'd start by asking about this idea of implicit prejudice, which you brought up during your interview in the paper. You said that this is a set of biases that we possess but are not aware of. How is this different than normal, expressed prejudice? And are there any outward signs of implicit prejudice?
Dr. Michael Inzlicht: Thank you for having me. There are a number of features of implicit prejudice, with the most important being intentionality, awareness, and control. First, implicit prejudice operates without intention. People don't necessarily want to have a negative stereotype come to mind when they see someone of another race; it just does. Second, people are often unaware when the stereotype comes to mind and unaware of when and how it influences their behaviour. Third, people cannot necessarily control their stereotyped thoughts or quick impulsive behaviours that reflect these thoughts. This lack of control can come about because of a lack of awareness.
In terms of measurable signs, there aren't very many. Modern research can measure implicit prejudice with tests asking people, for example, to pair African-American faces with positive and negative words. Interestingly, the difference in reaction times for these words predicts activation of brain areas associated with fear and anxiety.
GlynnMhor of Skywall writes: The underlying foundation of all racism is deciding to use race as a criterion for deciding how to treat people. Racial 'affirmative action' is thus just as racist as any other racial discrimination. Do you agree
Dr. Michael Inzlicht: While many critics have characterized affirmative action as reverse discrimination - and the policy is not without problems - many policy makers have argued that it is an important piece of legislation to right historical wrongs and to level the playing field for many disadvantaged groups. Affirmative action policies are an effective tool to fight institutional discrimination and implicit biases in hiring decisions. Importantly, it can place disadvantaged groups in positions that were previously closed to them, thus increasing the chances that these groups' voices will be heard.
These positions also allow them to act as role models for a younger generation of disadvantaged individuals.Report Typo/Error