Thinking About Prejudice

We Can Do Better, eh? – Thinking About Prejudice

Presenter: Douglas Fraser

July, 2020

We are living in complicated times with much social, economic, political and cultural churning that threatens our well-being, quality of life, status quo and, and, in some cases, even our fundamental assumptions.

A friend of mine posed two questions to me recently.

       1. “Are you a racist?”
       2. “In the light of the current turmoil, in today’s world, whatever happened to Martin Luther King’s  dream?”


Think first about “racist”.  What is a racist?  Racism is a subset of prejudice.

Definitions:

Prejudice = “an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feelingespecially when formed without enough thought or knowledge” (Cambridge Dictionary)

Racist = “a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.”

Some insights on “prejudice”.  Refer to Dr. Stephen Wright ‘s lecture at SFU.  “Prejudice: The Roots of Discrimination”,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Aoij8m_fJM

Prejudice can be explicit or implicit – overt or hidden, conscious or unconscious. But there is more complexity because prejudice and racism become expressed in privilege.  Some insights into privilege – a challenge to self-examination – the need to step out of privilege.

Layla Saad, “Me and White Supremacy”  https://youtu.be/gMEXBFhA-NY This is a lengthy interview but an important contribution to understanding privilege, prejudice and racism and work to be done.

What are our prejudices?

The question, “Are you a racist?”, should, perhaps, be rephrased as, “How am I racist?” in the light of Layla Saad’s perspective

Do you want to test yourself? Visit Harvard University’s site. (https://www.projectimplicit.net)

“Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.”

Test yourself: Implicit Social Cognition Test  https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

In what ways do we (I) hold white privilege?  There is much work to be done beginning with us, individually.




by Douglas Fraser Visual Artist Cell Tel: 780.707.5439 Website: www.glassblower.ca
Further Study—Explore More Extensively!

What evidence do we have that prejudice still exists?

The COVID pandemic has served to highlight gaps, inequalities, injustices, exclusions and alienations in Canadian society. It has magnified gaps or fault lines in privilege and opportunities. – between haves and have-nots.

COVID in Canada has affected all aspects of society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Canada

Examples:

Canadian racism exists, betraying our fantasy of being “the world’s polite people!”  A Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/14/canada-systemic-racism-history

CBC Report on right-wing extremism in Canada: Canadians among most active in online right-wing extremism, research finds https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/canadian-right-wing-extremism-online-1.5617710

Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) Report — right-wing extremism in Canada https://www.isdglobal.org/isd-publications/canada-online/

More on Canadian Systemic Racism https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/systemic-racism-needs-systemic-change-says-afn-national-chief-on-policing-in-canada-1.4982452

https://globalnews.ca/video/7061374/living-in-colour-being-black-in-canada-2

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/systemic-silence-canada-s-ignored-history-of-slavery-1.4980143

https://globalnews.ca/news/7060626/canada-history-of-slavery/

Long-standing Canadian Indigenous Issues https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/top-5-indigenous-issues-all-canadians-should-care-about/

https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/8-key-issues-for-indigenous-peoples-in-canada

Consider Question 2:  In the light of the current turmoil, in today’s world, whatever happened to Martin Luther King’s dream?”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP6kPQfKvlA

BLM movement began in the USA and has spread broadly.  https://youtu.be/gfIWyPgE_E0

Canadian Black history has been neglected.  Black History in Canada  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=852M3oYYHI8

How does violence and willful destruction square with MLK’s dream?  https://news.sky.com/story/george-floyd-protests-toppling-of-bristol-slave-trader-statue-disgraceful-says-home-secretary-12002492

What do you think? How entrenched are we in our positions? How blind are we in our complicity?

Of further concern – another emerging issue: How might science be contributing to prejudice, racism or privilege?

“Is Race Science Making a Comeback?” https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2019/07/10/416496218/is-race-science-making-a-comeback

Angela Saini (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Saini)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior:_The_Return_of_Race_Science

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