Ph.D. Entrance Writing Sample
Fielding Graduate University
Unconscious Racism in Psychology
This essay is aimed at exploring whether unconscious racism exists through analyzing both sides of the arguments. The paper will briefly review the research evidences that validate the existence of implicit racial behavior, and that many individuals have unconscious negative perceptions and stereotypical beliefs about minority groups that often leads to understated bias without conscious awareness. It will be followed by criticisms of the concept of unconscious prejudice and the evidences presented in opposition. Empirical Studies Supporting Unconscious Racism
Racism in today’s modern world is both inconsistently normal and irrational. According to the study by Richard Delgado (1997, p.29), racism varies significantly with the common public ideology and exists in every member of the society, even though at unconscious levels. This irrationality and inconsistency is an integral part of the reason for the unconscious nature of bias. Delgado further explains that when our cultural traditions and beliefs teaches us to have racial bias whereas our ideology regards it as a social evil, individuals are more likely to respond by excluding the prohibited message from consciousness.
Devine 1989 (as cited in Blanton & Jaccard, 2008) carried out a remarkable research to study unconscious racial behaviors. The investigation involved a computer-based survey taken from randomly selected participants. The participants were shown words stereotypically associated with Black people for few seconds, which was followed by a jumble of words and letters. After this exposure, they were asked to read a passage that described a person who was unmistakably engaged in hostile action while the race of this person was not mentioned. Participants, who were primed with stereotypical terms, interpreted the...