Reforms and the institutionalization of racial civility


Q: In the post-civil rights era, it is very common for some Americans to assume legal reforms and the institutionalization of racial civility render the United State post-race. This perspective assumes the prohibition of racial discrimination in public/private spheres coupled with informal sanctions imposed upon overt racism in civil society mean racism has been conquered. Persons promoting this belief often define themselves colorblind and condemn efforts to forge racial consciousness amongst nonwhite people, promote racial egalitarianism through affirmative action, assert race-based demands by racial minority groups, and discuss past harms inflicted upon nonwhite communities by white society.

How legitimate is this claim? This exercise encourages students to interrogate their own racial biases by taking the Implicit-Association Test. This test was created by Harvard social psychologists to measure the strength of a respondent's automatic association between mental representations of objects. In other words, it provides a window into the unconscious mental processes that guide human decision-making. This test has been applied to a variety of topics (race, weight, sexuality, ability, gender) to measure how implicit biases affect participant cognitive processing.

In exercise, take one of the following tests related to race found within the Implicit-Association Test link above (Skin-tone IAT, Native IAT, Race IAT, Asian IAT). Prior to taking the test, did you identify as colorblind? What was the result of your test? Did your identity change in response to this result? Explain.

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Business Law and Ethics: Reforms and the institutionalization of racial civility
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