"Are we all bigots?"
This is a question raised by actor Morgan Freeman in Wednesday night's premiere episode on a new season of the Science Channel's "Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman."
Freeman, who serves as the host and executive producer of the show, takes on the role of race and presents scientific data to better understand how implicit bias affects the daily decisions we make.
"If you think you see everyone as equal, you're kidding yourself. We all have biases, and no matter how open-minded we think we are, stereotypes color our judgment of others, and can lead us badly astray," Freeman says in the opening sequence of the episode.
"When did hate become hard-wired into our brains? Are we all born to discriminate against our fellow humans?"
Freeman addresses these questions, and many others, by featuring the thoughts and opinions of scientists who are working to unlock those subconscious links within all of us that determine our decision-making processes. Scientific research -- such as that conducted by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity -- may eventually help to better understand the role implicit bias plays in the judgements we form.
"If you ask that question -- are we all bigots? -- it's amazing the number of answers you'll get in the negative," Freeman told The Huffington Post. "I would stand up and say very quickly, 'I am not bigoted,' but then you see the show and realize, 'Wait a minute, yes I am.'
"We hope that will be one of the most provocative shows that we've done. I'm almost certain that it's going to spark a dialogue."
The unrest that has unfolded in Baltimore, Maryland over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured after an arrest, has reignited concerns around policing and black lives. It has also fueled discussions on the role of race in the criminal justice system -- however, Freeman and his team are digging deeper to expose the role of race in our own lives.
"We're very sad about recent events that make this [show] so timely," said Bernadette McDaid, vice president of production for Science Channel.
"What we're hoping is that, by highlighting this inclination toward subconscious bias, from the topics very much being discussed in the public forum, it'll draw attention to the fact that we are able to overcome that quick-fire bias, so there's a very hopeful message in the show."
This sixth season of "Through the Wormhole" also tackles subjects as diverse as:
Can Time Go Backwards?
Are We Here For A Reason?
Do We Live In The Matrix?
Are There Aliens Inside Us?
Why Do We Lie?
Watch this trailer for 'Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman'
Science Channel's "Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman" is produced by Revelations Entertainment and airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Check your local listings.