Are We All Unconscious Racists?

Everyone who doesn’t agree with the entire radical Leftist agenda is a racist, or at least one of those unconscious racists. We all have heard it. In this information war, Leftists can’t argue policy, which is why it’s too bad conservatives reach far too few people with their policy ideas.

Here is Heather Mac Donald writing at City Journal:

No: there’s scant evidence to support the trendy implicit-bias theory.

Few academic ideas have been as eagerly absorbed into public discourse in recent years as “implicit bias.” Embraced by a president, a would-be president, and the nation’s top law-enforcement official, the implicit-bias conceit has launched a movement to remove the concept of individual agency from the law and spawned a multimillion-dollar consulting industry. The statistical basis on which it rests is now crumbling, but don’t expect its influence to wane anytime soon.

Implicit bias purports to answer the question: Why do racial disparities persist in household income, job status, and incarceration rates, when explicit racism has, by all measures, greatly diminished over the last half-century? The reason, according to implicit-bias researchers, lies deep in our brains, outside the reach of conscious thought. We may consciously embrace racial equality, but almost all of us harbor unconscious biases favoring whites over blacks, the proponents claim. And those unconscious biases, which the implicit-bias project purports to measure scientifically, drive the discriminatory behavior that, in turn, results in racial inequality.

The need to plumb the unconscious to explain ongoing racial gaps arises for one reason: it is taboo in universities and mainstream society to acknowledge intergroup differences in interests, abilities, cultural values, or family structure that might produce socioeconomic disparities.

The implicit-bias idea burst onto the academic scene in 1998 with the rollout of a psychological instrument called the implicit association test (IAT). Created by social psychologists Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji, with funding from the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health, the IAT was announced as a breakthrough in prejudice studies: “The pervasiveness of prejudice, affecting 90 to 95 percent of people, was demonstrated today . . . by psychologists who developed a new tool that measures the unconscious roots of prejudice,” read the press release.

Read more: City Journal

Image credit: Cartoon by A.F. Branco.