After reading Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech and discussing it in class, there are two ideas presented in this speech that have been on my mind. First, Dr. King expressed that it is the social scientist’s responsibility to spread information to the misinformed whites of America. The second idea was a particular quote that Dr. King recited in his speech that really stood out to me. He quoted Victor Hugo saying, “If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.” Martin Luther King used this quote symbolizing whites in society as the cause of the “darkness” (prejudice attitudes/ behaviors and discrimination-both on a personal and institutional level).
When we recently read the Johnson et. al article, the main thing I kept thinking about was the OJ Simpson trial. As many of us known, OJ Simpson was accused of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and one of her male friends in 1994. There were many factors that made this trial of the most well known and controversial. One one side there was compelling evidence against him including, OJ’s past domestic violence issues with his ex-wife, DNA evidence , accounts told by OJ’s friend Kato Kaelin, and the infamous white Bronco car chase. But there were still issues that raised questions such as no found murder weapon, the lack of finger print evidence and first hand eye witness of the murder, and of course the famous glove that did not fit OJ’s hand. The final verdict ultimately found OJ as not guilty.
This article by Dovidio and Gaertner directly relates to the discussions we had in class last Tuesday. The first part of this article explains the results and findings from both the study and article we read for Tuesday’s class (On the nature of contemporary prejudice-the third wave (Dovidio, 2001) and Aversive racism and selection decisions (Dovidio & Gaertner, 2000)). The previous studies we read dealt with the decisions and rationalizations that aversive racists make. This article also explores interactions between whites and blacks.
The link that I posted is from the documentary “The Color of Fear.” I remember watching this in Multicultural Psychology last year, and after we read and discussed the Nelson chapter (Old-Fashioned versus Modern Racism) this is one of the first things that came to mind. In class we discussed modern racism as the conflicting feeling of negative attitudes towards blacks and feeling that racism is wrong. Other components of modern racism are the ideas that racism is over as well as the idea of meritocracy (the idea that someone is either succeeding or failing based on their own personal merit).
The Macrae experiment that we read in class this week, (Stereotypes as energy-saving devices: A peek inside the cognitive toolbox) found that the use of stereotypes is actually a cognitive tool our brain uses. In the study, whenever a stereotype label was present (regardless of whether the stereotype label was present consciously or unconsciously) participants remembered more stereotype consistent words and performed better on the additional task than participants who were not provided with a stereotype label. According to these findings, stereotypes are strategic tools used to enhance cognitive performance, so when the the stereotype is present we are able to effectively process other information at the same time. But what happens when these stereotypes take on a negative connotation?