Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

How can it be determined that identity and prejudice are factors in certain interactions (read more)?

Asked by Demosthenes (12887points) July 17th, 2021
5 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

Is it possible that people fault racism or homophobia or sexism for what they see as unfair treatment when none may actually be present? I’m thinking of the recent case of Minnesota representative John Thompson, who was pulled over by police for not having a front license plate (illegal in Minnesota—he also had a suspended license). He decided to interpret the incident as racial profiling and referred to it as “driving while black”. The release of the body cam footage has called into doubt his claim with many saying that there’s no evidence of racism in the recorded encounter.

But how do we know that racism wasn’t a factor? Who should have to prove that it was? Do you think people sometimes see racism/sexism/homophobia where it isn’t? Is it okay to just assume racism was involved even if it can’t be proven? Can doing so be an excuse for bad behavior?

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Dutchess_III's avatar

I think some do see racism when there was none.

kritiper's avatar

Assuming racism, like any other assumption, should not be done since it, too, is racism. It’s like saying that only white people are racist.

Strauss's avatar

I think the statistics justify the assumption. The linked article states:

(Thompson’s) charge that driving while Black is a problem is supported by statistics.

In St. Paul last year 43% of traffic stops were Black drivers. The Black population of St. Paul is just 16%.

This supports my own experience. I’ve witnessed many “driving while black” traffic stops over the past fifty years, in Minnesota, as well as Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska.

One of the interesting things about “white privilege” is you don’t have to recognize it to enjoy it.

JLeslie's avatar

I think often times there is no racism when people want to think there is, but there is enough real racism that we cannot ignore it.

Zaku's avatar

Questions like these can of course point to some unfair mistakes. Yet they also tend to seem far more concerned with the possibility of a few such mistakes, than they are with the actual pervasive problems.

For every non-minority person who is accidentally thought to have done something racist, how many actual cases of racism take place, and how severe and remediable are they?

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