Since the topic of racism will never go away in our lifetime, you may be interested in taking Harvard/Yale/Washington’s IAT Racist Test (actually called the Race Implicit Association Test) which I have linked at the end of this article.
Race (‘Black – White’ IAT). This IAT requires the ability to distinguish faces of European and African origin. It indicates that most Americans have an automatic preference for white over black.
Anyway I point to prehistoric man and the current animal kingdom to see the roots of racism and why people feel more comfortable with their own flock. Living beings trust their own tribe, kind, or group. It’s a survival mechanism born out of fear of other tribes. In other words, I believe racism, discrimination, stereotyping, and prejudice are biological and humanity’s true nature. It doesn’t give people an excuse to indulge, but I think it takes effort not to have racist tendencies. It’s the same with unchecked sexual pleasure that leads to cheating on your spouse- we must rise above our evolutionary instincts.
Over time, anthropology, psychology, and sociology provided different reasons for racism. If you throw scientific racism (whites are superior to blacks) and political correctness (blacks and whites are equal in every way) the reasons for racism becomes further muddled.
To me the prison life is a good showcase of human behavior although it is also a great mockery of humanity because it is a mentally unhealthy place to be. But in prison – which is survival of the fittest- humans revert back to their prehistoric selves. Blacks stay with blacks. Latinos stay with Latinos. Asians stay with Asians. In the absence of sexual intercourse with the opposite sex, homosexual behavior is accepted. Might makes right. So much for the condescendingly enlightened Western civilization. The sad part is my high school was just like this, and almost every office in the U.S. is like this.
Many people in today’s era like to give reasons or excuses for racism, because they don’t want to conceive that it is in our genes and our human nature to be racist:
1) We learn it from our parents
2) Portrayals of stereotypes from TV, movies, music create our perceptions
3) Low-self esteem causes us to lash out or blame others to feel superior
4) Ignorance of the way other people live- we don’t like cultures that we don’t understand
5) The attachment people have to label things- we have a longing for the world to be simplified
6) Racial justice- Blacks and Native Americans are allowed to “get revenge” on the white man
7) A bad experience: if a purple man beats you up, all purple men are evil
All of the above reasons may aid in unlocking our racist selves, but they don’t cause it. Racism is biological, just like body odor and facial hair are evolutionary throwbacks to prehistoric times. Thankfully, we can have the ability to learn and educate ourselves to overcome it. We can intermingle and be friends with other races and learn their cultures and world view. We can marry outside of our race. Indeed, in 2010 and beyond it could be argued that the day of the “pureblood” is over, and that is impossible to have “race” anymore. And that is a good thing.
On a final note for this article, I would like to use the Enneagram Personality Types to show how how some people I know view racism. (In my view, healthy people can overcome our racist tendencies). Please note this is totally unscientific and may be a small sample size.
Enneagram Type 1: Generally prefer their own kind because they are influenced by a belief systems and authority figures, which usually promote one culture.
Enneagram Type 2: They don’t like labels or being judged, and open-minded about dating other races. However others simply are a product of their childhoods.
Enneagram Type 3: Usually think that their race is superior.
Enneagram Type 4: Tend to stay with people they see similarities with, whatever that may be.
Enneagram Type 5: Well, they can literally be racially blind because they hate rejection or they can come up with weird racist theories out of fear.
Enneagram Type 6: Males seem much more open-minded (and some may “switch” racial identity) than females, who tend to distrust much more.
Enneagram Type 7: Notoriously racist, sorry.
Enneagram Type 8: Don’t get them started.
Enneagram Type 9: Very much into stereotypes and very sensitive to race relations and what other people are thinking.
Take the racial test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/Study?tid=-1
But also check out this great psychology Enneagram book: