Archive for the ‘racism’ Tag

New experiment shows indifference to racism

An interesting experiment reported on by MSNBC indicates that the way people react to overt acts of racism and the way people say they would act to such acts are two different things.

The study involved 120 non-black students from York University in Toronto who were recruited for a purported psychology study.

A participant was directed to a room where two actors posing as fellow participants — one black, one white — waited. The black person said he needed to retrieve a cell phone and left, gently bumping the white person’s leg on the way out. The white actor then did one of three things: Nothing. Said, “I hate when black people do that.” Or used the N-word.

Then a researcher entered and said the “psychology study” was starting and that the student should pick one of the two others as a partner for the testing.

Half the participants just read about that scene, and half actually experienced it.

Those asked to predict their reaction to either comment said they’d be highly upset and wouldn’t choose the white actor as their partner.

Yet students who actually experienced the event didn’t seem bothered by it — and nearly two-thirds chose the white actor as a partner, the researchers report Friday in the journal Science.

The lead author of the study, Kerry Kawakami, said the results indicate that “just because a black man has been elected as president doesn’t mean racism is no longer a problem or issue in the States.”

Bob Jones University apologizes for past racist views

Bob Jones University, the private, fundamentalist Christian college founded in 1927, has just issued an apology for racist views that they formerly held and justified on biblical grounds.  The school did not admit black students until 1971 and prohibited interracial dating until that particular policy gained attention during the 2000 presidential election when George W. Bush gave a speech at the school.

This blog commends Bob Jones University for apologizing for the racist views they formerly promoted

This blog commends Bob Jones University for apologizing for the racist views they used to promote

The detailed rules that Bob Jones University developed in the 1970s prohibited not just interracial dating and marriage but threaten expulsion for any student who even advocated interracial marriage, who was “affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage,” or “who espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the University’s dating rules and regulations.”  The Internal Revenue Service revoked the University’s tax exempt status; the school appealed the decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the University met all other criteria for tax-exempt status and that the school’s racial discrimination was based on sincerely held religious beliefs, that “God intended segregation of the races and that the Scriptures forbid interracial marriage.”

The just released apology (full text) says in part:

We failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful.

The South Carolina chapter of the NAACP welcomed the apology from the Greenville-based school.  “It’s unfortunate it took them this long — particularly a religious, faith-based institution — to realize that we all are human beings and the rights of all people should be respected and honored,” said Lonnie Randolph, president of the state NAACP.

The school has never reapplied for tax exemption, though they could presumably qualify now.  This blog commends the school and its leadership for having the courage to admit these past mistakes.