Can subtle slights cause serious harm? Does it matter if no harm was intended? Are microaggressions in the eye of the beholder? Or are they a way to keep certain groups in their place? This week we’re thinking about Microaggressions.
Why is there so much hate in the world? Is hatred ever morally justified? Or does hate just breed more hate? What exactly is hatred anyway? These are some of the big questions we’re tackling on this week’s show, Why We Hate.
Social psychology has shown that people tend to generalize on incidents of good behavior for their in-group, but generalize on bad behavior for members of out-groups. This tendency leads to a form of racism I call "naïve" because the racist person has no idea that their minds are operating this way.
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.
As I write this, the world is in the path of a mounting pandemic. People are frightened. They should be. The novel coronavirus is dangerous. It can and does kill. But its biologically menacing character is just one part of the threat that it poses. The virus also presents us with a social threat.