Thursday, January 26, 2017

Are We More Racist?

Meaningful discussion is hard to come by these days. We are invalidated before we open our mouths.

In a quest for more thoughtful tools, I've thought back to the Revisionist History podcast called The Lady Vanishes, which was broadcast long before the election. This is more about the concept of moral licensing in the context of women artists and leaders, but it is more relevant to me in thinking about Obama, race and what I consider jaw-dropping xenophobia coming out of the new President.

This blog post gives more resources on the topic: Masculinity, Inequality, And The 2016 Presidential Election.

Concise summary of moral licensing from the blog post:
...when people are presented with the opportunity to demonstrate that they are good, moral people, they are more apt to follow that opportunity by expressing support for inequalities that they might otherwise not be willing to admit to. That is, given the opportunity to demonstrate that we are “good” people, we’re more likely to engage in “bad” behavior. Social psychological research discovered that, for instance, we’re more likely to support racially prejudiced views after having been primed with an opportunity to say that we’d be willing to vote for a Black presidential candidate. When we demonstrate “good” moral qualities publicly, we feel more justified in supporting systems of inequality in public ways, too.
I think about this every time I read something on race these days.

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