An aspect of Critical Race Theory that stands out for me is unconscious bias. Described as an inclination or preference formed without reasonable justification that can prevent a judgment from being balanced, or even-handed. Biases may be held by an individual, group or institution and can have negative or positive consequences. It tends to be unconscious; the person is unaware that the bias is impacting their behaviour.
Although on the surface, one could imagine this to be true, however, I would like to peel this back a bit more and look at it from a psychological lens. In phycology, there are aspects of behaviours called automatic thoughts, these are the reactions or immediate thoughts that come to mind that are based on core beliefs. These can be witnessed in day-to-day life’s interactions and social situations. Mental disorders, where depression and anxiety exist, these automatic thoughts are usually indications of deeper issues related to core beliefs resulting in automatic thoughts that become harmful.
When one seeks treatment to help with a mental illness, the treatment will usually involve core beliefs, since these pretty much drive cognitive behaviour and emotions. For example, a malformed core belief of abandonment would negatively impact relationships since automatic thoughts would be geared towards intimacy, impacting aspects of these aspects of life. To explain further, your automatic thoughts are a brief stream of thought about ourselves and others. They usually apply to specific situations and/or events and occur quickly throughout the day as we appraise ourselves and our environment. We are often unaware of these thoughts but are very familiar with the emotions that they create within us, sort of like unconscious thought.
Based on this, if someone is perceived as racist, could this be in a way tied to misguided and malformed core beliefs? Could a person’s behaviour be inherently racist or unconscious bias? Then also, could it also be said, that if one’s core beliefs are well-formed and healthy, that in no would support racist ideologies? My view is, having automatic thoughts not influenced by maladaptive, dysfunctional core beliefs, I would argue a person would not possess unconscious bias.
Contrary to what unconscious bias training programs would suggest, people, are largely aware of their biases, attitudes, and beliefs, particularly when they concern stereotypes and prejudices. Such biases are an integral part of their self and social identity which are all driven by their core beliefs. Generally speaking, people are not just conscious of their biases, but also quite proud of them. They have nurtured these beliefs through many years, often starting in childhood, when their parents, family, friends, and other well-meaning adults socialized the dominant cultural stereotypes into them. We are what we believe, and our identity and self-concept are engrained in our deepest personal biases.
This would tend to support how racist thoughts or ideologies are developed and experienced through social influences. If one was not exposed to racist beliefs, or if someone has aligned and or corrected their core beliefs, could it also be said this person would not possess racist ideologies exhibiting unconscious racial bias?
There is then the question, what are the ethical implications of labelling someone with unconscious bias or racist when they aren’t? There are clear ethical concerns when we do this under the name of science when this theory is backed by flimsy evidence, groupthink and disputed scientific tools.
For me, I would classify myself as someone who has core beliefs that are healthy and well-formed, they serve me well in my life and are something I have worked very hard on. I would also say I truly doubt I would exhibit unconscious bias towards any person based on their race, religion or sexual orientation.
I would also go so far as to say, that to assume all people have “unconscious bias” is in fact a very misguided assumption and quite honestly offensive. To assume one is racist simply based on their race is in fact racist is it not?
I can see why Critical Race Theory is just that, a theory, in that there is little empirical evidence beyond weak theories, and large assumptions fueled by political narratives.
There are those who believe in the founding idea that “all men [and women] are created equal” and those who support a racist ideology that would plunge us into the horrors of tribalism. Critical Race Theory is a poisonous neo-Marxist ideology that judges a person’s worth solely due to his or her race. Except for which races are favoured or disfavored, the core racial beliefs of Critical Race Theory are in fact indistinguishable from those of the KKK and Nazi Germany.
Critical race theory is doing what it’s supposed to do, polarizing Canadians along tribal racial lines and along class lines among white people. It is being driven into us by the media, the Government and now our school that white people are predisposed to being wealthy, privileged, and racist.
The premises of Critical Race Theory are flawed divisive by its shear nature as it believes racism is present in every aspect of life, every relationship, and every interaction and therefore has its advocates look for it everywhere and, relies upon “interest convergence” and acts like anyone who disagrees with it must do so for racist and white supremacist reasons, even if those people are black (which is also totalitarian).
Critical Race Theory looks for racism in everything until it’s found. That is, after all, the job of a “critical” theory is to look for the hidden problems that they assume must be present in whatever they scrutinize.
My grandfather would not be pleased with this CRT stuff.