The following is based on real-life experiences with my family since the birth of my son. It goes without saying that these situations, from cultural misunderstandings to racial/ethnic insensitivity to flat-out ignorance, likely represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what my biracial son can expect to experience throughout his life.
Sometimes, the effects of sexism and implicit gender bias are difficult to show. However, in the case of women's health care, there's very little ambiguity. Women should be aware of what these problems look like, so that they can identify doctors who similarly understand them and can fairly diagnose and treat them.
There's no such thing as an unbiased person. Just ask researchers Greenwald and Banaji, authors of Blindspot, and their colleagues at Project Implicit. They've discovered that-because of a lifetime of conditioning by social institutions like the media, church and schools-we harbor unconscious biases that influence our judgments about people's character, ability and potential.
I asked the kids how people they meet explain Elmont Memorial High School's high academic achievement, and they said, in one voice, "They think we're cheating." One student said, using words I would have hoped would never be used by a young person, "I feel we have to work harder and do better than other students just to get the same respect, because we're African-American."
The war against racism is not yet won. What links all of these incidents, spanning almost a decade, is that they are manifestations of racial bias. Not necessarily intentional bias, but bias nonetheless: implicit bias. Despite growing awareness of the role of implicit bias, we continue to ignore a critical implicit bias: post-racialism.
The racial and cultural identities of the protagonists have prompted some to criticize Sarah Koenig for not grasping many aspects of this narrative. While I agree with this analysis, I did not think it ultimately compromised Koenig's role as an effective storyteller. That is, until I heard Episode 10.
Decades of segregation and inequality in Ferguson, as well as most American metropolitan areas, have fostered a racial inequality exacerbated by the criminalization of not just poverty, but the criminalization of black and brown bodies. Too many whites are too willing to believe that a black body poses a threat.
The statistically significant racial disparities in school discipline are too large and longstanding to have occurred by chance. School officials are exercising their discretion and imposing disciplinary measures in ways that disadvantage African-American students and severely undermines their access to equal educational opportunities.