Thoughts on Color-Consciousness

Originally published March 17, 2014 The recent literature in social psychology and other disciplines is clear: colorblind racial ideology is a harmful way of viewing the world. By ignoring both the material disadvantages faced by people of color and the implicit racial biases that influence decision-making, subscribing to colorblind racial ideology leads people to ignore the realities of racism in modern America and thus oppose policies that would address racial inequalities. In a recent class, we discussed how some white people who subscribe to such an ideology will go to any length to avoid mentioning a person of color’s race. … Read more

Are We Beginning to Chip Away at Mass Incarceration? An Example from New York State

Last week, our class discussed mass incarceration, the system by which a vastly disproportionate amount of people of color are imprisoned for the use or distribution of illegal drugs. The situation is quite bleak; the system has been escalating for the past few decades and has wreaked havoc among communities of lower class people of color. Nevertheless, there may in fact be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. Throughout the country, some states are decriminalizing, and two are even legalizing, marijuana. Somewhat differently, in my home state, New York, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced a … Read more

Jordan Davis – Law and Implicit Prejudice

While what would have been Trayvon Martin’s birthday recently passed, a similar trial was finished in court – the trial of the murder of Jordan Davis. On November 23, 2012, Michael Dunn pulled into a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. He saw a red SUV full of black teenagers playing loud music and walked up to them to complain. He thought he saw a gun being taken out, so he shot at the teenagers, killing Jordan Davis. Recently, Dunn was convicted of attempted second-degree murder of the three other teenagers in the car. The jury was hung, however, on the … Read more

Racial Stereotypes and NYC’s “Stop and Frisk”

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio recently followed through on his campaign promise to reform the city’s “Stop and Frisk” policy. “Stop and Frisk” is an NYPD program in which police stop a person and search him or her for weapons and drugs if they appear suspicious. In practice, people of color are stopped at a much higher rate than white people. Last year, a judge ruled that this policy was unconstitutional and that an independent monitor should oversee the New York Police Department. The previous mayor, Michael Bloomberg, had appealed the judge’s ruling, but De Blasio dropped the … Read more