A flurry of studies have shown that even self-avowed non-racists can still be implicitly biased against black people. There is not much agreement about how to think about the nature of this ‘implicit’ phenomenon, but one possibility is that our racist biases are best understood as a perceptual habit.
Why on earth would anybody want to get rid of the word “racism”? It seems like a perfectly fine word. In fact, it seems like a morally valuable word. If racism is a morally bad thing, then having the language to address it—to track it, analyze it, condemn it, and call it out—must be a good thing, right?
Having just listened to the recent Philosophy Talk show with David Livingstone Smith, I find myself thinking that he is on to an extremely important phenomenon, but that he mischaracterizes it. Furthermore, the way he mischaracterizes it represents a big oversight about the way humans experience other humans.