Paul Ryan and Cultural Racism

Paul Ryan has recently been lambasted for his comments on inner city poverty and Black culture. While many in the media and blogosphere have picked up on his racism, I found his comments to be particularly illustrative of colorblind ideology. I pulled this quote from ThinkProgress: “House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) previewed his upcoming legislative proposals for reforming America’s poverty programs during an appearance on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Wednesday, hinting that he would focus on creating work requirements for men “in our inner cities” and dealing with the “real culture problem” in these communities. “We have got this tailspin … Read more

Daily News Roundup?

This morning, I had my coffee with my parents as we watched the morning news. When you watch the news with a critical eye, race, sex, and sexual orientation have a tendency to pop out. Racism, sexism, and heterosexism touched almost every news story, either within the  content itself or by a comment the reporter makes. I could do a detailed analysis of just one story, but I think the sheer volume of things that I noticed within one hour of televised news warrants discussion. Note that all of these occurrences are subtle and not noticeable if you’re not looking … Read more

Low Prejudice/High Prejudice

Something about our last conversation in contemporary racism was bothering me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I knew it had something to do with how we had discussed the low prejudice versus high prejudice participants in Hodson, et al (2002). We discussed how “high prejudiced” participants from a sample of college students really represents the “low prejudiced” end of the general American population. We discussed that this is due to college students generally holding more egalitarian beliefs. I think there are several aspects of this conversation that didn’t get teased out, simply because of time constraints, but … Read more

Jordan Davis and Michael Dunn

For our contemporary racism class, we read an essay by social psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt. The essay summarized her and her colleagues’ work on the cognitive associations we make about Black people and crime. For me, the findings were like a knife in the gut: we have unconscious prejudices that we often aren’t aware of, that can have dire consequences. In one study, participants were either unconsciously primed to think about crime or received no such prime. Then, two faces, a Black face and a White face, were flashed next to each other, at the same time, on the screen. … Read more

Power Differentials

I’m very curious about how we experience power in our everyday lives. It seems to me that power is crucial in our social interactions. When we have power, we feel like we control our circumstances, bringing order to an uncertain and chaotic world. In our social worlds, there are power differentials. That is, people will encounter situations in which one person is perceived or actually has more authority, agency, or knowledge then the other/s. Social identities (age, race, sex, class, orientation etc.) can also play a role in where social power lies. One example of where a power differential could … Read more