[3/18/17] A professor at George Washington University teaches that only white people can be racists.
A story published first on the blog Power Line reports that a “study guide” used in a class at GWU contains the following guidelines for understanding racism in the United States:
Prejudice + Power = Racism
* Racism, however, requires institutional power
* In the U.S. white people alone hold the institutional power to discriminate on the basis of race
* Political power (representation, law, judges)
* Economic (wealth, income, banks, CEOs)
Social (media, representation, culture norms)
In other words, white people possess the exclusive ability to practice racism because they are the only segment of society who likewise exclusively possess “institutional power” requisite for racism.
The blog Daily Wire ties this crazy curriculum to a recent GWU decision to exempt history majors at the university from taking American history classes in order to qualify for a bachelor’s degree.
It is likely that the professor who handed out the study guide in question is referring not to overt racism (although that’s possible in light of the inscrutable nonsense he’s teaching), but to something called “implicit bias.” Implicit bias is defined as those prejudices demonstrated by a person without that person consciously realizing it.
Claiming that implicit bias has “quickly and profoundly” “taken hold” of the 21st century, NYMag.com reports on the rise of the popular belief in such bias:
That’s in large part due to the blockbuster success of the so-called implicit association test [IAT], which purports to offer a quick, easy way to measure how implicitly biased individual people are.
When Hillary Clinton famously mentioned implicit bias during her first debate with Donald Trump, many people knew what she was talking about because the IAT has spread the concept so far and wide. It’s not a stretch to say that the IAT is one of the most famous psychological instruments created in recent history, and that it has been the subject of more recent fascination and acclaim than just about anything else to come out of the field of social psychology.
Since the IAT was first introduced almost 20 years ago, its architects, as well as the countless researchers and commentators who have enthusiastically embraced it, have offered it as a way to reveal to test-takers what amounts to a deep, dark secret about who they are: They may not feel racist, but in fact, the test shows that in a variety of intergroup settings, they will act racist.
The state media perpetuates this myth of unwitting racism of white people. In a headline on its Wonkblog, the Washington Post declares, “Across America, whites are biased and they don’t even know it.” The “evidence” provided by the Post of this inherent, involuntary racism, is as follows:
Most white Americans demonstrate bias against blacks, even if they’re not aware of or able to control it. It’s a surprisingly little-discussed factor in the anguishing debates over race and law enforcement that followed the shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers. Such implicit biases — which, if they were to influence split-second law enforcement decisions, could have life or death consequences — are measured by psychological tests, most prominently the computerized Implicit Association Test, which has been taken by over two million people online at the website Project Implicit.
The Post warns, however, that even this evidence of latent racism is likely skewed by the fact that most people who take the test are unbiased enough to want to know how biased they are! Here’s how the article’s author, Chris Mooney, explains this:
The people who have taken the IAT at the Project Implicit website are not a random sample of Americans, either nationally or on a state-by-state basis. Rather, they’re people who, for some reason, chose to take an online test measuring their implicit biases — which may actually mean they are less biased than average. (After all, at least they wanted to know how biased they are.)
So, not only are whites racists — knowing or not — but even the test designed to reveal their repressed racism is ineffective because the egregious discriminators aren’t sensitive enough to subject themselves to the scrutiny.