Claims of blameless, unconscious racism are easily unmasked

28 February 2021 - 00:00 By Lindiwe Mazibuko

I have never been a fan of the name given to the sociological phenomenon known as unconscious or implicit racial bias. The term was coined in 1995 by US academics Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald, and has since been made popular by the free online implicit association tests developed by Harvard University, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington.

Through a series of rapid online image associations, the Harvard test enables anyone with an internet connection to gain a richer understanding of whether (and when) race - or gender, physical ability, religion or other factors - causes them to perceive individuals or groups of people negatively or treat them as inferior...

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