Race Scholars at Rice » What is racism in the post-racial America of the 21st Century?

here are a few types of racism operating in the 21st Century and inchoate comments for each: (1) there is overt racism. Rev. Thompson’s decision to bring to vote whether or not to allow membership of multi-racial partners into their church is a perfect example of this. Think Bull Conner—He wasn’t racist, either!?! But even as Thompson’s claim, “I am not a racist,” is laughable to most (as it betrays its own proposition), he believes what he is saying. Then there is what I call (2) dispositional racism. Dispositional racism happens when I am viscerally more fearful of a black guy walking towards me on the sidewalk than occurs for his white counterpart (unfortunately, this is not merely hypothetical). And even as I, a race scholar, realize what is happening when it happens (fortunately, these instances are rare), I cannot do anything about it in that moment because the racism is physiologically and psychologically motivated. Not all racism is volitional nor can it be corrected in the moments when such dispositions emerge, though we wish that it could be. How to correct the embodied, racist dispositions of one’s habitus should constitute much antiracist work moving forward. Finally there is (3) institutional racism. Institutional racism is found in the extremely disproportionate numbers of black and brown individuals who face poverty, prison, death row, lack of adequate education or housing, etc., etc. Institutional racism is much discussed, but in my opinion there has been a failure from scholars to address the relationship between dispositional and institutional types of racism. When we find ways to offset dispositional racism, much institutional racism might be avoided. But it also seems necessary that scholars pay closer attention to other forms of oppression, like poverty and education level, because all of these factors shape the individual dispositions of legislators, judges, prison officials—and their victims.

via Race Scholars at Rice » What is racism in the post-racial America of the 21st Century?.

Advertisements