by Caroline Sheen
Wilson, chairman of the psychology department, reads from his
latest book, Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive
may carry hidden prejudices of which their conscious minds are not
aware, three psychology professors told about 100 students, faculty
and staff Monday evening.
theory, first advanced about 15 years ago, was presented by psychology
professors Timothy D. Wilson, Stacey Sinclair and Brian A. Nosek
during a "teach-in" on racism and prejudice.
program was one of many in the wake of the reported attack on Student
Council president-elect Daisy Lundy, who said she was assaulted
on Feb. 26 by a man who uttered a racial slur about her candidacy.
Local and federal law-enforcement authorities are investigating
the incident as a hate crime.
there has been a decline in overt racism, the professors said, some
researchers believe implicit prejudices exist at an unconscious
level, though it is unclear what, if any, difference this makes
in peoples lives.
is biologically insignificant, Wilson said, accounting for 0.01
percent of humans genetic make-up, but it is an important
social factor. Race relations in the country have improved, he said,
but unconscious racism, in a culture rife with stereotypes, is less
controllable and more difficult to avoid or influence.
who led the audience through an exercise he said demonstrated a
pro-white bias, said that while the implicit prejudice theory is
still controversial, it can be the starting point of a discussion.
is unconscious raising," he said after the program.
"It lets people know that there is more to my mind than I am
who said he initially was skeptical, now believes the theory.
hope we can start a dialogue and address the question of what psychology
has to offer here," Wilson said. "It is one discipline
who deals with issues of prejudice in many of her courses, said
implicit prejudice manifests itself in subtle ways, such as increased
blinking in the presence of people toward whom one is unconsciously
biased or sitting farther away from them. Subtle prejudice can become
self-fulfilling, she said, with the targeted person acting differently
because he is being treated differently.
racial climate of a place can make members of a targeted group feel
that they do not belong. At the University, this can reduce their
academic engagement and prevent them from using the schools
full resources, she said.
groups reduces prejudice, Sinclair said. This co-mingling needs
the sanction of authorities and people must be on the same status
level, with common goals and cooperation.
foster a good racial climate at the University, Sinclair said, the
administration should enhance and maintain diversity, create opportunities
for inter-group contact and support equality.
co-mingling of groups may reduce prejudice even if it is forced,
said Sinclair, while forming close friendships across group lines
is the best solution.
dissimilar groups in student housing can reduce prejudice, Sinclair
suggested. Angela M. Davis, assistant dean of students and director
of residence life, said officials had rejected taking away first-year
students ability to choose housing, and they are only required
to live on Grounds.
have said that the most important thing that happened to them was
learning from people who were different from themselves," said