After completing this class a little over a year ago I wanted to share with fellow members of the class what has truly stuck with me. I visit this blog again today to stress the importance of continuing your journey in the awareness, knowledge, and understanding of contemporary racism. As many of you know it is not a quick fix and I have realized that becoming culturally competent will take years of work in understanding myself, my biases, and the contributions of the world around me. In addition to this process taking time I encourage that you find allies in this journey. Without allies I do not think I would be able to continue in the fight for social justice. It is hard, emotional, and at times very uncomfortable but with the help of friends you can overcome these obstacles.
After reading this week’s articles what really stood out to me was the Hogg article on Social Identity Theory. In this article Hogg talked about the idea of groups and how individuals are placed or fit into their so called groups. In my opinion the most interesting part of this was what Hogg called accessibility and fit, what identities we find most and least important. In other words accessibility and fit is the system of how we rank and use our many identities or groups.
We did this experiment in class last week where we split the class into two groups. Both groups were told to make a collage of positive images of Black men and women from magazine clippings we were given. The only difference was that one group was given exceptional tools (big scissors, tape, large paper, and magazine clippings from Essence ect.) and the other team was given poor tools (little scissors, little tape, small paper, and clippings from gossip magazines with poor images of Blacks). The difference of tools between the groups were unknown and not recognized by anyone except the professor. Lastly we were told that this was going to be a competition and that there would be a winner and loser, to give some incentive to do our best.
When thinking about racism in general I normally do not think of the consequences it has in the school systems. After reading the Steele article I realized how influential stereotype threat can be to Black men and women. Its important to focus on this topic due to the fact that education is such a important factor in our society and and opens one up to many necessary resources to succeed in this world. These resources should be available for everyone but unfortunately as Steele has shown us, it is not the case.
After learning about modern racism in class a few weeks ago, I have been becoming more an more aware of racism in society. We have learned that modern racism is subtle and usually unconscious from our awareness. Therefore this type of racism is harder to see and become aware of compared to previous forms of overt racism. From what I have learned and observed I feel like a lot of modern racism tends to come not only from our unconscious actions but also from the stereotypes about minorities that are used in society today. I think that a lot of these stereotypes are used as primes and help to reinforce the stereotypes and therefore effect our beliefs and eventually our actions. Recently after talking and learning about all of this stuff, I have found myself watching TV and I cannot believe how prejudice some of the commercials are that are broadcasted.
After reading the Devine study this week, I was fascinated by the findings of this study and what it says about racism and the use of knowledge of stereotypes. The study had three main findings: first, that both high and low racist subjects had the same knowledge of the racial stereotypes. Second, that when primed with racial stereotypes (not aware of priming) this influenced the way both high and low racist groups viewed racial minorities, therefore it became an automatic response. Third, when given the opportunity to censer their thought, Low racist showed a decrease in racist views compared to high racist subjects.
After reading Beverly Tatum’s Article, Defining Racism, I remembered a article posted in Newsweek that reminded me of what Tatum is trying to address. Tatum suggests a very bold statement, that every white person is a racist. At first when I heard this it was hard to swallow and think to myself, a white female, that I am in fact a racist. But after looking at Tatum’s definition I realized that indeed I am a racist. Tatum suggests that all White people are racist because they benefit from being white and are given automatic privilege. Now with saying this, it does not mean that all white people are mean and prejudiced against minorities, it just means that we benefit and are therefore racist. So, why is this so important to admit to being racist or accept this title?