There is a story by CNN today that discusses the nature of racism and racial bias. It implies that people are born with racial bias, that is we are comfortable being around people who are most like ourselves. There is something Darwinian about that idea in the sense that animal species subscribe to that of which we are one.
Then again, human beings have developed an intellect that gives to them the capacity to appreciate differences and diversity. In fact, studies show that there is high value from diversity and from collaboration among people with different cultural and other characteristics.
Human beings may be granted intellectual capacity, however conditions vary about how well it is developed.
“Intellect” refers to the mental powers of an individual. Human traits may be inherited or may be environmental. That is, some traits are more a matter of inheritance while others are more affected by the environment. Parents tend to produce children with IQ’s similar to the average between them.
“What we don’t know far outweighs what we do know, but we have theories.”
“No one knows for sure, and the emerging data from ongoing research into the heritability of IQ could be anywhere from 40 to 80 percent [source: Norrgard].”
Having just glossed over the surface of the complex study of human intelligence, let’s just say that people may be born with about the same mental capacity, however there are many factors affecting how they develop their mental tools from birth and forward.
If you miss the window to develop and enhance your ability, you may have to live with those constraints for a lifetime. Therefore, it is incredibly important for civilized societies to do all that they can to promote healthy childhood development in productive family environments.
All of that discussion is preparation for pondering the CNN report about racism.
“Human beings are consistently, routinely and profoundly biased,” Ross says.
Here is an example of a thoughtful declaration about diversity from Johns Hopkins University.
“Diversity and Inclusion Statement
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is a community committed to sharing values of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain excellence.
- We believe diversity is critical to attaining the best research, scholarship, teaching, healthcare, and service.
- We embrace diversity to enhance all of our activities and accomplish the mission of the school.
- We achieve excellence by attracting and retaining talented and diverse leaders, faculty, students, and staff.
- We commit to create an inclusive environment in which diverse opinions and beliefs are a part of and enrich our professional, educational, and personal experiences.
- We recognize that the responsibility for diversity and inclusion lies with all of us.”
“The new threat: ‘Racism without racists’
By John Blake, CNN
updated 9:32 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
- Whites and blacks don’t speak the same language when they talk about racism
- For many minorities, racism is less about overt hostility and more about bias
- One sociologist calls it “racism without racists” and says “we are all in this game”
- A new conversation on race can start with three phrases that often crop up
(CNN) — In a classic study on race, psychologists staged an experiment with two photographs that produced a surprising result.
They showed people a photograph of two white men fighting, one unarmed and another holding a knife. Then they showed another photograph, this one of a white man with a knife fighting an unarmed African-American man.
When they asked people to identify the man who was armed in the first picture, most people picked the right one. Yet when they were asked the same question about the second photo, most people — black and white — incorrectly said the black man had the knife.
Even before the Ferguson grand jury’s decision was announced, leaders were calling once again for a “national conversation on race.” But here’s why such conversations rarely go anywhere: Whites and racial minorities speak a different language when they talk about racism, scholars and psychologists say.”