Unfortunately, one of the most prevalent parts of today’s society is racism. Much of what makes today’s news has to do with tragic events that could be tied to some prejudice. Just in the last two days, a Texas high-schooler was arrested for carrying a clock that he built in to school to show his teacher. If this doesn’t seem like an action worthy of arrest, that’s because it’s not. School administrators believed the clock to be a bomb. This student was Muslim, it is believed that the administrators and police acted the way they did due to prejudice and profiling. Ahmed’s story is just one example of all the hate and prejudice in the world, but why does it exist? What causes millions of people to be so hateful when everyone is created equal?
Upon an initial search of why people are racist, I quickly realized it is important to distinguish between outward racists, and those that just have a few prejudiced thoughts and don’t act on them, as this article suggests. In a study conducted by NYU researcher David Amodio, it was found that typically, the average white college student, like many of the kids in SC200, has racist tendencies. This was evidenced by a study of 150 students in which they were asked to associate words with white or black faces. In the majority of cases, the students being studied associated the words with negative connotation with black faces. As for why this occured, Amodio cited implicit bias, which The Kirwan Institute at Ohio State suggests is an unconscious attitude or stereotype that affects our behavior or mannerisms.
So now that I discovered where our racist tendencies manifest themselves, I wanted to investigate how much racism affects the scientific community. Although, as we have learned in class, good science is based purely off of causation developed through experimental studies, bias does exist in science and that could include implicit bias, the whole basis of racism. As this abstract from research done by the State University of New York Plattsburgh shows, scientific racism, as the term has been coined, is mostly predominant in the field of anthropology. This would lead me to believe that racism is not very impactful in other fields of science, as it should be. I was not able to find any additional literature that speaks to whether racism is prevalent in science but I sure hope it’s not because that would possibly cause some of the most biased studies of all time.