Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Everyone's a little bit racist?

***WARNING: Some may find this content to be offensive. I promise that my intent is not to offend.

To preface this post, I am taking a class called, "The Psychology of Diversity." Needless to say, things can get... interesting. But I always leave the class thinking, and that's more than I can say about the majority of my college classes.
For some reason, I kept thinking, "Everybody's a little bit racist." I figured that I had heard it somewhere before my own head, so I YouTubed it and found this:

(I heard this a while ago but had totally forgotten about it-- I'm sure you all have seen it at some point?)

The main thing that I've been thinking about this week has been the concept of "illusionary correlation." It simply means that we often develop associations between two things based on one situation. This is (obviously) not a very sound habit, since we are almost always wrong about our assumptions. My friend Cameron made me extremely aware of this a few years ago when I purposely sat on the opposite end of the room from him, only because of one situation I had seen him in. (We're pretty good friends, now.. so this is sorta a joke between the two of us.) 
For example, if someone asks you to smoke pot with them, and they happen to be pierced and tattooed, many people would automatically associate the smoking of illegal substances with tattooed and pierced people. I can say this because I've had several instances in which people have admitted that their first impression of me was that I was a pothead. Weird, eh?

In class yesterday, we watched, "A Class Divided." If any of you have taken any psychology classes, I'm sure you've at least heard of this experiment.
Keep in mind that this was filmed in 1968. The ethics board was not created at that point. For more information, or if you want to watch the whole thing, follow this link. Basically, a third-grade teacher decides to take a unique approach to teaching about racism. She divided the class by their eye colors: blue and brown. The first day, the blue-eyed people were superior, and the second day, the brown-eyed people were superior. You'll hear her quote at the end of the clip that sums up her results. This is extremely powerful. I never cease to be shocked by human capacity.
(You can start the video at 1 minute.)

What'd ya think? Crazy, right?

We also watched part of "The Colbert Report," where Colbert features Rush Limbaugh "speaking Chinese." This was used to promote discussion on the different ways in which racism sneaks into our everyday lives, namely through the media. And yes, I found this humorous; but, it's definitely something that's made me more keenly aware of what I say and what I think.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Rush Limbaugh Speaks Chinese
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>Video Archive

And finally, when we walked into class yesterday, our professor put labels on our foreheads. We then were told to interact with each other, solely based upon the label on our heads. It was hilarious, but the point was made. I felt like everyone hated me, since they kept commenting on my jewelry. "Is that gucci?" "How much did you pay for your shoes? A lot, I bet." "Are you going to graduate? Do your parents pay your way?" "Do you have a job?"

Well, I hope I didn't offend anyone! We're all a bit racist, after all, right?



Lindsey said...

thank you and thanks for reading! im sorry about your bad news as well. hope your days continue to get better.

Gale said...

this was really interesting. all of it. some of the videos were, i have to admit, really funny but definitely an eye opener and reality check! that exercise you had in class was also very intriguing..wish i was there to see it. better yet, i wish i had a label on my forehead that day to experience it. such an interesting topic that can be conversed about for hours, days! thank you for sharing. and i do agree that everyone IS a little bit's kind of instilled in us just through life experiences, growing up and such.

thanks for sharing this liz!

Mandy said...

Avenue Q is great. Totally inappropriate, but it gets a good point across. Many points, actually. I've never actually seen the play, mind you, but I have the soundtrack. :)