Monday, January 18, 2010

Are we unconsciously putting roadblocks up when discussing race relations?

Today I left on my trek to becoming a successful financail advisor with Edward Jones. The plane took off at 11:30 a.m. and landed just before 2 p.m. Arizona time. The flight was a non-event even though we did hit a little turbulance upon landing in Arizona. Upon landing and getting my bag from baggage claim, I was introduced to the Arizona sunshine. Not really,I get a more unique experience with rain. According to our van driver we are witnessing a rare occurance as Arizona's yearly rain total is 7 inches.

On my flight I met a wonderful couple that are snowbirds and were on their way back after a short visit of relatives in Minnesota. In between conversations with the snowbirds I read my book. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcome Gladwell. While I was only able to get to chapter 4, I did learn something in the book. The power of the unconscience has on our decision making process.

The interesting part of the book that really got my attention thus far is the discussion around the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The IAT measures how our observations and word association factors into our quick decision making. One of the word associations in the book was with European American, bad, good, and African American. Per the book, it says that the IAT "measures our second level of attitude, our racial attitude on an unconcious level - the immedidate, automatic associations that rumble out before we've even had time to think" (p. 84-85).

I have been engaged in several converstations as of late in regards to race. I think the issue of race is more telling these days especially since the historic election of Barack Obama. I plan to take the Race IAT to see how I perform. You can to by going to www.implicit.harvard.edu. By looking at the results to word association, according to the book, may be the reason why race relations are the way they are.

Using the IAT is something I plan to incorporate into my daily routine to see how my views are changing or if I am making an unconcious discrimination.