Friday, July 9, 2010

If I Were a (White) Boy . . .

. . . it would be 72 and clear all the time! Only white folks get to be so oblivious to reality.

Philip Bump on the recent San Fransisco BART shooting guilty of involuntary manslaughter verdict:
At least, that was the determination of the only objective group of observers who were privy to all of the evidence, who considered that evidence in light of the legal definitions of the charges. In other words: the jury.

But . . . the jury was all white and it's not as though white people have no vested interest in issues of race. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but when filling out the "race" section of the 2010 census, white folks didn't mark "none.") The fact is race continues to shape the way whites view cases and how white jurors decide guilt or innocence: studies have also shown that white jurors are more prone to convict black than white defendants.

It's what's called implicit bias:
As Jerry Kang and Mahzarin Banaji discuss in their article Fair Measures, “mechanisms of bias [are] produced by the current, ordinary workings of human brains—the mental states they create, the schemas they hold, and the behaviors they produce. Obviously, both history and societal factors play a crucial role in providing the content of those schemas, which are programmed through culture, media, and the material context.”
 And before you hit me with, "Well, No1KState, we all do it," I'll just concede that yes, we all do it. But read that quote carefully. We're all exposed to the same culture, media, and material context which simply means we all have biases for whites and against people of color. The difference is that minorities are usually smacked in the face everyday with evidence disproving negative racial stereotypes. We're forced to deal with what would be our implicit biases both for and against whites and ourselves. The sooner white Americans acknowledge their own biases, the sooner we'll all be better off.

Cause actually, I'm starting to think that maybe the NRA is on to something. Maybe black folks need to start arming ourselves against the police.*

And by the way, am I the only one who thinks people on conservative cable propaganda joking about the heat is ironic? Weren't these the same group of people calling for Al Gore's head this previous winter?

*Before the FBI taps my phone, I'm for stringent enforcement of gun regulation and think the current Court is reading an individual right where there is none. And I don't own any guns or any other weapon.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis