Monday, January 15, 2007

Lest we forget

Since it's Martin Luther King day, I was browsing around the net and ran across this descripton of aversive racism.

[Some scholars] distinguish between aversive racism or unintentional racism and old-fashioned, or blatant racism. In contrast to old-fashioned racism, which is characterized by overt hatred for and discrimination against African-Americans or other minorities, aversive racism is characterized by more complex, ambivalent racial attitude.

On the one hand, aversive racists are well-intentioned people who typically (1) avoid acting in a racist manner, (2) support public policies that promote racial equality, (3) sympathize with victims of past injustice, (4) identify with liberal political agendas, (5) possess strong egalitarian values, and (6) regard themselves as non-prejudiced.

On the other hand, aversive racists almost unavoidably possess negative feelings and beliefs about African-Americans (it may be built into the social fabric of our minds). In contrast to the old-fashioned racist, however, the negative feelings experienced by aversive racists are not hatred and animosity toward African-Americans, but rather discomfort, uneasiness, or fear in the presence of African-Americans (which may be built on our biologically based fear of strangers). In addition, this negative affect is frequently unacknowledged or dissociated from the self because it conflicts with one’s egalitarian self-concept and value system. || (emphasis added)
I learned about aversive racism a couple of years ago and I think it is a useful mechanism to explain why people can be consciously anti-racist, yet still act in a manner that betrays their good intentions. (And I do not excuse myself from this classification either...)

I do think that aversive racism is better than blatant racism, it's a step in the right direction, although it will be more difficult to root out aversive racism than blatant racism.

And we certainly haven't even done away with blatant racism in most societies.

For instance, I ran across which has to be the most racist piece of trash I've read in quite a while. My favorite part is when they call David Duke a European American civil rights activist. What's really telling is that a the bottom of most pages are links to Stormfront forums, and Stormfront is a neo-nazi group. |Wikipedia|

This site proves that a web address ending in org is not necessarily a good sign.

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