Laughter is the Best Medicine

Cracking the Codes: Tim Wise, Unconscious Bias

I think unconscious bias is really heavily
implicated in White America’s racial attitudes in this Age of Obama, so to speak. On the
one hand, I think a lot of white folks who actually admire President Obama a lot, who
voted for him, who find him to be an extremely erudite, intelligent, capable leader. Nonetheless,
and we know this from the studies, many of those folks willingly have implicit associations
between black folks and negativity. Different stereotypes, different views, and they’ve
taken, many of them the Implicit Associations test that have been run by Harvard, and Princeton
and others that can test for these, sort of, unconscious biases. And what those studies
have found is that 75% of White Americans have overtly pro-white, anti-black bias. Well,
by definition, some of those folks voted for Barack Obama, because he got about what? 44%
of the white vote–45%? So, by definition, a large number of white folks, who carry around
this sort of baggage of bias and prejudice toward, let’s say the black community, are
willing to carve out these exceptions for those who make us feel comfortable, who seem
different from the norm.

3 thoughts on “Cracking the Codes: Tim Wise, Unconscious Bias

  1. That's interesting! I feel like my coworkers feel that way about me, not all, but some of them. I would probably be one of those "scary black guys" had they not worked with me for 5 plus years, and see that i adhere to virtually NONE of the stereotypes about black people.

  2. This is definitely true. I can't tell you how many of my more liberal white friends and associates have told me that I'm "not like other black people", that I'm "different" and "they feel more comfortable with me than most black people", I'm a "credit to my race", and other microaggressions like these. These same people will vehemently deny that remarks like these are racist, that they have racist tendencies and an implicit bias against black people, all because they know and like me.

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