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Sat Sep 27, 2014, 03:47 PM

Brain Research: White People Lack Empathy for Brown People

There have been a lot of studies revealing unconscious and latent racism in whites but not so many studies about what might be happening physically in the brains of people expressing such unconscious attitudes. It's important for us to understand more about this because these people also typically express anti-racist sentiments and there's no reason to think that they are lying. How can a person say they support equality and sincerely believe that they support equality but then exhibit racism?

The answer may lie in mirror neurons. A new study from the University of Toronto at Scarborough indicates that when white people watch non-whites performing simple tasks, their "mirror neuron system" is far less active than when watching whites performing the same task. If this is indeed true, then it suggests that a person can simultaneously have strong anti-racist beliefs but then be easily susceptible to racist attitudes because their brains simply fail to react to non-whites with the same degree of empathy as with whites.



snipped a bunch to get to these...

I think it's important to regularly point out that racism isn't just to harbour hate, resentment, or something equally negative against another race. It's also the absence of empathy, compassion, or something positive towards another race that one would have toward their own race. So many times, I hear/read white people prefacing racist statements with, 'I'm not racist, I don't hate ______ people...' and then they say something that lacks empathy with brown people, minimalizes the experiences of brown people, or justifies a system that oppresses brown people.

It's the latter thing, this lack of empathy, that upholds institutional racism. It's linked to the complacency that accepts the status quo and resists change with the attitude that if something's not broken, it doesn't need fixing. Lack of empathy prevents white people from seeing how broken a system is for brown people.



Racism isn't just about hating another race, it's also about failing to regard that races as fully equal human beings who deserve full political and social equality. Homophobia isn't just about hating gays, it's about failing to regard gays as fully equal. Anti-atheist bigotry isn't just about hating atheists, it's about failing to regard atheists as fully equal.



http://atheism.about.com/b/2010/07/12/brain-research-white-people-lack-empathy-for-brown-people.htm



















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Reply Brain Research: White People Lack Empathy for Brown People (Original post)
noiretextatique Sep 2014 OP
bravenak Sep 2014 #1
noiretextatique Sep 2014 #4
GeorgeGist Sep 2014 #2
noiretextatique Sep 2014 #3
JustAnotherGen Sep 2014 #5

Response to noiretextatique (Original post)

Sat Sep 27, 2014, 04:49 PM

1. I have been noticing a lack of empathy in our nation.

 

And the more fear claws at the psyche of the majority, that fear of loss, the less empathy they have for others. Their place at the top of the pyramid is in question by all and sundry; past crimes are not forgotten, current issues are attached to historic wrongs that have never been righted, and they fear that they may have to give something up, if only status. Then who will they be? The bringers of new advances in science and technology, or the marauders who only got what they have based on theft, murder, and slavery? The forced respect for their ways cannot continue, and once their majority is gone, it's gone for good. Never to return.

So, there are those who work to change the history books. The forever victims of the White Man Burden. And they know it is all in vain. And there are the others who know the truth and want to be on the right side of history, but inside, they still see themselves as more than others. They cannot help that they were taught that they were special. Full of their own self worth, they can only see those that look like them as being as worthy as them. That's what our society reinforces everyday. In these final years we will see it get worse and worse as they get more and more afraid.

Hopefully our children will look back at this and see how stupid it all was and judges us un mercilessly for our biases. Then it can end.

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Response to bravenak (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 27, 2014, 05:25 PM

4. poignant post, bravenak

i have nothing to add. thank you for sharing.

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Response to noiretextatique (Original post)

Sat Sep 27, 2014, 04:55 PM

2. In a follow-up study ...

the same group found that this empathetic deficit of whites for brown people can be readily unlearned by mimicry; suggesting that it is nurture not nature.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103111001685

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 27, 2014, 05:20 PM

3. i agree

definitely not nature.

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Response to noiretextatique (Original post)

Sat Sep 27, 2014, 06:20 PM

5. Too good to not

Kick and rec!

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