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Let’s Stop Hiding From Race

Let’s Stop Hiding From Race






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    Let’s Stop Hiding From Race Let’s Stop Hiding From Race Presentation Transcript

    • Let’s Stop Hiding From Race john a. powell Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of Law Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Moritz Faculty Brownbag January 27, 2009
    • Presentation Overview
      • Influences on How We Think, Talk, and Act on Race
        • Implicit Bias
        • Framing
        • Colorblindness
        • Targeted Universalism
        • Systems Theory
      • Toward a Transformative Discourse
        • Strategic approaches for the classroom
    • Influences on How We Think, Talk, and Act on Race Source: Lester, Julius. Let’s Talk About Race
    • Hesitancy to Talk about Race
      • Most people do not know how to talk about race in constructive and transformative ways.
      • Reasons for the hesitancy include:
        • Fear of stigmatizing groups and creating self-fulfilling prophecies
        • Concern about reinforcing negative stereotypes
        • Fear of stimulating frames that create resistance to social-justice policy and encourage inter-group conflict
        • Ignoring similar stresses of whites
    • Why We Need to Talk about Race
      • To not talk about race is to talk about race.
      • Race plays a critical role in the creation and perpetuation of many social, political, and organizational structures that control the distribution of opportunities.
      • Race affects all aspects of our lives.
        • Where we live, who our children’s friends are, what social programs we support, how we vote, etc.
      • We must address race to understand the history of our nation’s democracy and the future well-being of its people.
    • Consequences of Not Talking about Race
      • Racial disparities are masked
      • Misperceptions about equality are reinforced
      • Support for equitable interventions is decreased
      • Diversity becomes less valued
      • “Color-blindness” gains salience
      • Inadequate proxies (such as class) gain visibility
      • Understanding of “linked fate” is weakened (we fail to see that institutional arrangements are functioning poorly for everyone)
    • Perceiving Race
      • Racial categorization occurs automatically, regardless of any efforts to divert attention from race.
      • Within moments of perceiving someone, we automatically judge that person in terms of in-group favoritism
        • Is that person is an “us” or a “them”?
      • We unconsciously think about race even when we do not explicitly discuss it.
        • Drew Westen’s The Political Brain
        • Implicit Association Test
          • Implicit thoughts can overpower our explicit positions
    • Implicit Bias
      • People have multiple networks that may be activated without our awareness.
        • Depending on the situation, one network becomes dominant over the others
      • Even though we may fight them, implicit biases reside within us…
    • Our Unconscious Networks
      • What colors are the following lines of text?
    • Our Unconscious Networks
      • What colors are the following lines of text?
    • Our Unconscious Networks
      • What colors are the following lines of text?
    • Our Unconscious Networks
      • What colors are the following lines of text?
    • Our Unconscious Networks
      • What colors are the following lines of text?
    • Implicit Bias – The Shooter Game
      • In a video-game experiment, i mages of suspect s - both armed and unarmed, black and white – flash rapidly on a monitor. Within a split-second, subjects must decide whether to shoot.
      • Participants must assess whether the man in each picture is carrying a gun. Within 850 milliseconds they must press one key to shoot or another to leave the figure unharmed.
      • After repeated experimentation, people’s mistakes, although rare, follow a pattern:
        • T hey shoot more unarmed blacks than unarmed whites ;
        • They fail to shoot more whites than blacks are holding weapons.
    • What Would You Do?
    • Implicit Association Test http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/
    • Implicit Bias – Unconscious Modeling The Kanizsa Triangle
    • Debiasing
      • Given the strength of implicit biases, how should we engage in debiasing?
      • Encouraging people to ‘consider the opposite’ can be a productive strategy in some circumstances.
      • Attempting to debias by avoiding race will not work.
        • Frames are still operating
    • Framing
      • How messages are framed affects how they are perceived.
      • Conversations about race and diversity must be honed to ensure that messages are effective.
      • Consider the false dichotomies we often use when we think and talk about race. These binaries are actually frames.
    • False Dichotomies and Framing From which top hat will the magician pull a bunny?
    • False Dichotomies and Framing
      • Neither one. When a question is framed as a dichotomy, it is more difficult to think outside of the “either – or” mindset.
    • Analyzing How We Talk About Race
      • False dichotomies as frames:
      • 1) Black / White
          • A racial continuum has yet to be accepted by most people
      • 2) Civil Rights / Post-Racialism
          • Older Americans: Civil Rights angle
          • Younger Americans: a post-racial perspective
          • Whites tend to be absent from this discussion
      • 3) Race is not important / Race is important
          • Not important = colorblind
          • Is important = color conscious
    • Colorblindness v. Color-Consciousness
      • Color blindness
        • The logic: Since we know race is socially constructed (not scientific), we should eliminate racial categories
        • This perspective assumes “that the major race problem in our society is race itself, rather than racism.”
        • Attempting to ignore race is not the same as creating equality
      john a. powell. “The Colorblind Multiracial Dilemma: Racial Categories Reconsidered.” (1997)
      • Is colorblindness an appropriate shift in how we perceive race?
        • NO. Colorblindness will not end racism.
    • Colorblindness v. Color-Consciousness
      • Color- Consciousness
        • This perspective acknowledges that race can be a divisive issue in our society
        • Policies and interventions need to address race; otherwise they will only provide partial solutions to problems that are grounded in race
        • Acknowledging race through a multicultural frame can reduce prejudice
        • Color-consciousness fosters an appreciation of each group’s contributions to society
      Philip Mazzocco. “The Dangers of Not Speaking About Race.” 2006
    • Priming
      • Our environment affects our unconscious networks.
      • Priming activates mental associations.
        • Telling someone a scary story activates a frame of fear
      • Claude Steele’s “stereotype threat”:
        • For example, tell students about to take a test that Asian students tend to do better than whites, and the whites will perform significantly worse than if they had not been primed to think of themselves as less capable than Asians.
    • Race-Neutrality?
      • Given the forces of implicit bias, framing, and priming, race neutrality is not a reasonable or effective goal.
      • We need a new paradigm:
        • Targeted policies alone are not desirable because they appear to show favoritism toward a certain group, thus stigmatizing them
        • Universal policies alone are not useful; they fail to account for the fact that people are situated differently in the economic and social landscape of society
        • So… Targeted Universalism
    • Targeted Universalism
      • Targeted universalism is an approach that supports the needs of the particular while reminding us that we are all part of the same social fabric.
        • Universal, yet captures how people are differently situated
        • Targets those who are most marginalized
      • Targeted universalism is a common framework through which to pursue justice.
        • A model which recognizes our linked fate
        • A model where we all grow together
        • A model where we embrace collective solutions
    • Targeted Universalism
      • Targeted Universalism recognizes racial disparities and the importance of eradicating them, while acknowledging their presence within a larger inequitable, institutional framework
      • Targeted interventions must recognize the interconnected nature of our structures
        • Attempts to address singular issues in isolated ways will ultimately fail
    • Systems Theory
      • Systems Theory is a transdisciplinary model that focuses on a web of relationships and processes and not on linear, singular causation or the intent of one or even a few individuals.
      • In a complex systems model, actions and inactions have multiple effects, and the delayed or distant consequences are often different from more proximate effects.
      • From a systems perspective, causation is cumulative and mutual.
        • Outcomes are caused by many actors’ and institutions’ actions and inactions over time and across domains.
        • Outcomes are the result of causes that accumulate over time and across domains.
    • Visualizing Systems Theory
    • System Interactions Source: Barbara Reskin. http://faculty.uwashington.edu/reskin/ We must pay attention to how people are situated by looking at multiple indicators and the relationships that exist between those indicators.
    • Toward a Transformative Discourse: Strategies for the Classroom
    • Transformative Discourse: Strategic Approaches
      • Linked fate : The fates of all people are linked
        • We need to understand the effect that institutional arrangements have on all individuals.
      • Unity : Focus on terms that bring people together rather than those that are divisive
        • “Us/them” mindset  a “we” perspective
        • “We, the people…” recognizes “All the people”
      Annie E. Casey “Race Matters” Toolkit – How to Talk About Race. http://www.aecf.org/upload/publicationfiles/howtotalkaboutrace.pdf
    • Transformative Discourse: Strategic Approaches
      • Opportunity : “Opportunity” is a safe frame to use because people are not likely to present themselves as being against opportunity.
        • This term also resonates with people because opportunity is a deeply-ingrained American value.
      • Use of narratives : “Narrative trumps numbers.”
        • Quantitative data is not particularly useful in prompting people to alter the race frames they already employ.
      Annie E. Casey “Race Matters” Toolkit – How to Talk About Race. http://www.aecf.org/upload/publicationfiles/howtotalkaboutrace.pdf
    • Transformative Framing of Race DON’T DO Frameworks Institute Message Brief: Framing Race Talk about where systems we all rely upon break down and how we can fix those systems Don’t focus on exceptional individuals Steer the conversation toward the results being sought (i.e., a quality education for everyone) Don’t focus on who or what is responsible for present inequities Reinforce the belief of opportunity for all Assert that system flaws hurt everyone Don’t frame issues around “what’s fair”
    • Additional Suggestions
      • Provide potential solutions
        • We need to be able to articulate what we support - not just what we oppose.
          • Martin Luther King, Jr. did not give a speech about “I have a complaint…”
      • Create empathetic space
      • Acknowledge racial progress
        • Recognize our racial history and connect it to our future
        • Explain how past injustices still matter today
    • Revisiting Race Neutrality
      • Inside or outside of the classroom, the question is not if we should talk about race, but how we should talk about race.
      • Race-neutral tactics may appear to have appeal, but in reality, we’re not seeking race-neutrality – we’re seeking racial fairness.
      • Race neutral tactics only make sense if people are already situated alike.
        • Because people are situated differently, we must consider a systems perspective that accounts for multiple indicators and their relationships.
    • Achieving Transformative Change
      • Transformative change in the racial paradigm in the U.S. requires substantive efforts in three areas:
        • Acting: Linking these understandings to the way that we act on race and how we arrange our institutions and policies.
        • Talking: Understanding how language and messages shape reality and the perception of reality.
        • Thinking: Understanding how framing and priming impact information processing in both the explicit and the implicit mind.
    • www.KirwanInstitute.org
    • Appendix: Structural Racialization Housing Challenges Subsidized Housing Policies Discriminatory & Unfair Lending A Housing Market That Does Not Serve the Population Racial Steering And Discrimination Exclusionary Zoning
      • Dominant public paradigms explaining disparities: “bad apples”
        • Defective culture
        • Individual faults
        • Personal racism
      • Overlooks policies and arrangements: “diseased tree”
        • Structures
        • Institutions
        • Cumulative causation
      Attribution of Disparities
    • The Importance of Institutional Arrangements
    • Structural Racialization
      • Institutional racism shifts our focus from the motives of individual people to practices and procedures within an institution.
      • Structural racialization shifts attention from the single, intra-institutional setting to inter-institutional arrangements and interactions.
    • Structural Racialization
      • Structural racialization refers to the ways in which the joint operation of institutions produce racialized outcomes.
      • Structures matter and are not neutral. They unevenly distribute benefits, burdens, and racialized meaning.
      • This uneven distribution has negative consequences not just for those with the greatest need, but all of us.
    • The Arrangement of Structures
      • How we arrange structures matters
        • The order of the structures
        • The timing of the interaction between them
        • The relationships that exist between them
      • We must be aware of how structures are arranged in order to fully understand social phenomena
      • These cows are ill. Why?
    • Photo source: AP
    • Effects of Policies and Structures
      • Racialized policies and structures:
        • Promoted sprawl
        • Concentrated subsidized housing
        • Led to disparities between schools
          • Achievement gap
          • Discipline rates
          • Funding disparities
          • Economic segregation
          • Graduation rates
          • Racial segregation
    • Cycle of Segregation Structural racialization analysis allows for a view of the cumulative effects of institutional arrangements. Lower Educational Outcomes for Urban School Districts Increased Flight of Affluent Families from Urban Areas Neighborhood (Housing) Segregation School Segregation