When Bias Corrupts Critical Thinking

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Many of the people in this clip are no doubt good, well meaning Americans. However, where they fall short is by not actually testing the statements they’re making and looking only through their own personal lens’ of life. Politics aside, and with respect to their comments on African Americans, if they paused to actually check their assumptions, they no doubt would have to reevaluate their perceptions about the state of race relations.

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Native American demonstrators push back against oppressive questioning by reporters

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Indigenous demonstrators who led a protest and erected a teepee on Parliament Hill on Wednesday held a press conference this morning, in which they accused media of being disrespectful.

Sensational headline for the video clip aside, watch and listen how misunderstanding cultural ways of being and unconscious oppressive language can interrupt conversations.

(credit: Global News)

Colorblind Racism, The Walking Dead, And White Privilege

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In the blog, We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega points out that both colorblind racism, as well as overt racism, see people of color as somehow defective because they are not white. Racism-denying exists, even in conversations about the horror genre and a TV series, like The Walking Dead, whose narrative is focused on zombies. It is as if the reasonable concerns of people of color or others about white racism really don’t matter very much, that racism only matters and occurs according to the standards of Whiteness, and that those who talk about racism are the real racists. To read more, click here.

Ask a Woman Who Uses a Wheelchair

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Ask A Woman Who Uses A Wheelchair

Ableism is prejudice against people with disabilities, and like every other -ism, can take on many gnarly forms. Whether it’s negative societal attitudes, the dearth of accessible housing, job discrimination, or targeting an individual for a crime, in her post on The Harirpin blog Caitlin Wood speaks frankly about aspects of ableism. To read more, click here.

Black Adversity/White Privilege

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The Blaque Ink blog lists some of the everyday difficulties black people face because of racism as they move through their daily lives. These “adversities” are the opposite of “white privilege.” Below is a partial list of the sixty-five adversities recounted:

  • Alone, I appear threatening. If I’m in a group of others who look like me, that is a cause for some kind of suspicion or even panic.
  • In order to not cause suspicion, I must be in the company of (mostly) whites.
  • In order for whites to listen to me, I must agree with what they think about me and my people.
  • I can be sure that whites will not listen to me when it comes to race and racism, and anytime I bring up the subject, it will likely meet with denial or opposition.

To read more, click here.

I Am No Longer Willing to Be the Only One

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Dr. John Raible has a blog, “John Raible Online,” that supports the transracial adoption community. His August 9, 2011 posts is particularly compelling. Here’s an excerpt:

I am no longer willing to stifle conversation about topics that matter to me—race, adoption, racism, oppression, homophobia, heterosexism, white supremacy, patriarchy, sexism, classism, adultism, youth liberation, and social justice.

I am no longer willing to let others define the topic of conversation because it too often results in my marginalization and invisibility. I am no longer willing to tolerate racist comments and ignorant perspectives about the communities I belong to. I am no longer willing to take care of dominant individuals as they squirm in discomfort when my mere presence agitates them. I am no longer willing to subsume my needs for respect and acceptance, for freedom. I am no longer willing to hide who I am. I am no longer willing to censor my voice. I am no longer willing to put up with the fear and resentment of others who have more power than me, and whose privilege comes at my expense.

Click here to read more.

Love Isn’t Enough

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There is an interesting blog called “Love Isn’t Enough” about parenting and race. A particular blog entry from August 2009, White Noise: white adults raising white children to resist white supremacy has this quotation:

(M)y child — white and raised by white parents in a family where the adults have the gift of education, have choice about their work, and own their own home — is a privileged child. Every gain my mama-self wants to support my child in making will be on the backs of other children, children with mother’s whose mama-selves are just as fierce as mine but who have to fight against real monsters like hunger or violence.

The post raises critical issues about the moral dilemma ensuring the success of one’s own children at the expense of others. To read the entry, click here.

Gross Medical Ethics Violations in 1940’s Syphilis Testing

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According to a White House bioethics panel, the U.S. government and experts at Harvard and other top medical schools approved venereal disease experiments on people in the 1940s, which led to the deliberate infection of Guatemalan prisoners and mental patients with syphilis. What is especially startling is the high level of approval that the experiments received. The Attorney General, Army and Navy medical officials, the president of the American Medical Association, the president of the National Academy of Sciences and experts from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Rochester gave approval. The experiments were a violation of the medical standards of today and of the time the experiments were carried out.

To read the article from the New York Times, click here.

Orangreenia: A New Diversity Simulation

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Power shapes our lives. From everyday interactions with friends and colleagues to debates about the most divisive social issues, power is a key to understanding why people act the way they do. Orangreenia (pronounced “Orange-Greenia”) is the only simulation that teaches about the use and abuse of power and unlocks the concept of “intersectionality”—an indispensable solution for making change.

To read more about Orangreenia, click here.

The Problem With Petty Tyrants

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A new study by published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that people holding positions of power with low status tend to demean others.  The combination of some authority and little perceived status can be a toxic. The research sheds light on why clerks can seem rude or even why the Abu Ghraib guards humiliated and tortured their prisoners. To read the article from CNN, click here.

Situational and Relative Privilege

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Situational privilege occurs when the marginalized parts of a person’s identity are privileged in a specific situation.  For example, women have situational privilege around children, but are a generally “unprivileged” gender in our society. Relative privilege occurs when the privileged parts of a person’s identity bestow privilege within a marginalized population. For example, a straight, white woman would have relative privilege among women because of the “privileged” straight and white identities not possessed by some. To read more about situational and relative privilege from the Shakesville Blog, click here.

Moving Past Acknowledging Privilege

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In an article in The American Prospect, Courtney E. Martin states as follows:

The impulse to do some of the intellectual and emotional labor of calling out unchecked privilege, as a person benefiting from some version of it, is a valuable one, but it can’t end there.… The question is not just about what unearned privileges we have been walking around with but also about what it would take to change the systems that gave us these privileges in the first place.

To read more, click here.

Things I Don’t Have to Think About Today

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In the blog, Whatever, by John Scalzi, the author lists a series of privileges on gender, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and other cultural characteristics. The 51 things he “(doesn’t) have to think about” are insightful and often forgotten. To read the blog post, click here.

“I Don’t Care If You’re Offended”

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In an article from his blog, Fineness & Accuracy, Scott Madin talks about the difference between saying something that is “offensive,” and saying something that harms others because of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the like. The article adds clarity to the “you’re-being-offensive-too” argument often made when people are rebuked for remarks that reinforce oppression. To read the article, click here.

A Primer on Privilege

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What do we mean when we talk about cultural privilege, racial privilege, white privilege, etc., and why is it important. The Primer On Privilege answers these questions in brief. Here’s a sample:

Privilege is: About how society accommodates you. It’s about advantages you have that you think are normal. It’s about you being normal, and others being the deviation from normal. It’s about fate dealing from the bottom of the deck on your behalf.

To read more, click here.

Owning Privilege

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privilegeIn this brief article from the Feministe blog, the author says, “Understanding and owning privilege does not mean that you must live a life of shame or guilt, it does however mean that you owe a debt that must be repaid.” Click here to read more.

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