Progressives like to believe they’re enlightened, but they’re no less vulnerable to their implicit biases
For those who recognize racism is real and pervasive, it’s also comforting to believe that discrimination is something perpetuated by other people, overlooking the ways we are personally complicit in its perpetuation. But fruitful conversations about race require acknowledging that racism sits at the very core of our thinking. By something akin to osmosis, culturally held notions around race mold and shape the prejudices of everyone within the dominant culture. People of color unwittingly internalize these notions as well, despite the fact that doing so contributes to our own marginalization. Most of us know the destructive outcomes systemic racism produces (higher rates of poverty, incarceration, infant mortality, etc.). Accepting that implicit bias is happening at every level makes it awful hard to chalk those issues up to black and brown failure.
Racism is comfortable and easy; it helps us make quick, baseless decisions without the taxing act of thinking. The next time you catch yourself having a racist thought or feeling, try not brushing it off. Ask yourself where it came from, what it means and how you can unpack it. Because if the evidence above suggests anything, it’s that critical self-examination is our only hope of moving the needle at all on this thing. Stop imagining that being racist is something that only other people do, and start looking closely at your own beliefs.