On the Daily Show earlier this week, Senior Black Correspondent (his formal title on the show) Larry Wilmore pointed out Jon Stewart’s implicit assumptions: “So what you’re saying is in these times the new face of criminality is now white.” “I’m glad you’re finally admitting that you thought it was black,” is Wilmore’s response.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M – Th 11p / 10c|
|The New White Face of Crime|
I laughed at the segment, and then had to laugh at myself when reading a post at Under the Radar at thinkprogress, today about the government’s plan to phase out the military’s practice of ‘stop-loss’ by 2011. The New York Times article on the topic uses gender neutral language, while thinkprogress uses the female, as in “stop-loss”…”occurs when a soldier remains with her unit after her individual enlistment obligation expires.” “Ooh,” I thought, “isn’t that great that they used ‘her'”. The underlying sequitur would be ‘because everyone knows soldiers are really boys.”
My younger sister has said “can’t you just get up and go the bathroom without analyzing it?” And, alas, I can’t, but that’s a good thing, because as Project Implicit shows, our conscious and unconscious thoughts about things don’t always match. In a conversation following a post at allaboutrace, Carmen D. said of her blog “My goal is to illuminate how dislike/prejudice/presumption informs action.”
As a professional in organizational diversity, success is measured in actions and outcomes: % of diversity suppliers; supervisor accountability for diversity hiring and inclusion; % of sales from target markets. During training sessions, we talk about best practices for establishing and implementing measurable outcomes.
But in the ‘take-home’ package, I always like to include homework assignments that help people become more aware of their own assumptions, such as “Being the Other” where individuals are given a list of ideas and places where they might be “the only one” in a community setting, such as the only Caucasian at an African Festival of the Arts, or the only Asian at an Hispanic Market, or taking a news article and randomly replacing race or gender identifiers used in the story to see how it might change your reaction to it.
What are things that you take for granted in your day to day interactions? What is the first face that comes to mind when you say firefighter? Doctor? Criminal? From where do those ideas come?