Implicit bias, (global) white ignorance, and bad faith: The problem of whiteness and anti‐black racism

Journal article


Beckles‐Raymond, Gabriella 2019. Implicit bias, (global) white ignorance, and bad faith: The problem of whiteness and anti‐black racism. Journal of Applied Philosophy. 37 (2), pp. 169-189. https://doi.org/10.1111/japp.12385
AuthorsBeckles‐Raymond, Gabriella
Abstract

In Britain, policy-makers tend to view racism as a social attitude rather than an institutional/structural phenomenon. Not until the publication of the MacPherson Report (1999) was the idea of ‘institutional racism’ officially recognised. According to Jules Holroyd, implicit bias as a concept can help us understand and combat the kind of unwitting prejudice the Macpherson report describes. This article explores whether implicit bias is indeed a viable framework for understanding institutional/structural racism. To do so, I bring together Charles Mills’ notion of ‘global white ignorance’ and Lewis Gordon's interpretation of ‘bad faith’. Through Mills’ and Gordon's analyses, which together illuminate both the structural and psychic dimensions of racism I offer an account of the psychodynamics of racism far more consistent with our observations of how racism actually operates in Britain. Specifically, we see that institutional/structural racism is neither unconscious nor is it unmotivated as implicit bias would suggest. As such, I reject implicit bias as a useful or necessary explanatory framework for helping us understand institutional racism as a structural phenomenon.

KeywordsPhilosophy; Racism; Implicit bias; Institutional racism
Year2019
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
Journal citation37 (2), pp. 169-189
PublisherWiley
ISSN0264-3758
1468-5930
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/japp.12385
Official URLhttps://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/japp.12385
Publication dates
Online16 Aug 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Dec 2021
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8y429/implicit-bias-global-white-ignorance-and-bad-faith-the-problem-of-whiteness-and-anti-black-racism

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