All of us hold unconscious clichéd beliefs about social groups: black and white, female and male, elderly and young, gay and straight, fat and thin.
Such implicit bias is far more prevalent than the more overt, or explicit, prejudice that we associate with, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazis.
Certain social scenarios can automatically activate implicit stereotypes and attitudes, which then can affect our perceptions, judgments and behavior, including the choice of whom to befriend, whom to hire and, in the case of doctors, what treatment to deliver.
Recent research suggests we can reshape our implicit attitudes and beliefs—or at least curb their effects on our behavior.
For those of you who are sincerely open minded enough should read the article “Buried Predjudice: The Bigot in Your Brain” in the May 2008 issue of Scientific American by Siri Carpenter. She has written a great article that takes a scientific approach to racism.
Related Stories of Interest
Scientific American “Racism Not Hardwired, Scientists Say” 12/11/01
Scientific American “How Sterotyping Yourself Contributes to Your Success (or Faiure)” April 2008
Scientific American “The Implicit Prejudice” May 2006