I found the Implicit Associations Test to be extremely frustrating. It was aggravating knowing which letter I was supposed to press and actually getting my fingers to press the correct letter. I found myself yelling at the computer and at myself when I would press the wrong letter. I also had a hard time remembering what categories corresponded with “e” or “i” and there were times I didn’t mean to press a button but my fingers did it for me. It made me feel somewhat helpless. I couldn’t control how I answered the questions even though I really do not dislike black people.
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.
In class we have been heavily discussing stereotypes the past couple of weeks and although we have not limited the scope of our discussion to stigmatized groups, it seems those with the most salient stigmatizations inevitable surface in our discussions. This led me to wonder about people who had more than one stigmatized identity, and more specifically, identities that were in conflict with each other. The group I eventually settled on was homosexual black men. This group interested me because they had two stigmatized identities, but one could be hidden while the other was always present and for the majority of black males, clearly in conflict with the other. I was able to find two solid studies to explore my questions about this double stigmatized group, Good Cake by Tiffany Yvette Christian and Racial Differences in Social Support and Mental Health in Men with HIV Infection by D.G. Ostrow.
We have been addressing the many ways in which “racism is in the air,” as pointed out in one of our readings, “Beyond prejudice: Toward a Sociocultural Psychology and Oppression,” by Adams et al. I am interested in this conception of racism because it touches on a number of ways in which racism exists as a visible and invisible manifestation. Adams et al. discuss how racism is located “outside the architecture of the brain, in the socially constructed environments that provide the external scaffolding for individual subjectivity” (Adams et al., p. 223). I especially like these approaches because they encompass many of the things we have been discussing in class. First of all, the sociocultural perspective challenges many views that think of racism as functioning on only an individual level. Since individuals are part of a larger society, they are affected by the many social interactions and observations they constantly encounter. While many people may think that they think and act solely upon their own accord, they are part of a system that has powerful influences. Racism is something that most people attribute to being an individual occurrence; however, as we have read about and discussed in class, it is actually a social construction. This means that racism exists in the structure of our society through our institutions and social interactions. It affects how individuals think about racism, and therefore how we act in regards to race and racism. The “air” that Adams et al. presents is the information, associations, and understandings that we constantly breath in. This racism “air” has been building up for a very long time, which makes it very hard for us to determine it as wrong, or especially oppressive if we are the one’s benefiting from it.
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).
I have been thinking a lot about how silly the concept of being colorblind within society really is. I am currently enrolled in Multicultural psychology and we have been discussing racial identity models. Race is part of the individual’s identity and everyone understands and related to their race and ethnicity on different levels. Not only is racism structurally embedded within our society; it is also what defines the individual.
The understanding one might have of their own identity, separates the individual from others and therefore contributing to racism. If race and ethnicity is a crucial part of ones identity, in order for one to define themselves from others is also critical. The individual defines them self by comparing and contrasting, observing others and their behaviors. When comparisons are made is it possible to make these distinctions without personal biases?