For many years I believed and hoped that altering psychological processes like changing the master status, making people aware of their projections and how they “other” people, would solve the problem with racism. With a growing awareness of how racism operates, for example, Amy Irving suggests in Waking Up White to try to trick the habit of categorizing a person first, focusing on one’s master status. Clearly, one can choose to concentrate on a person’s race, ethnic group, gender, height, or personal appearance or be curious about the individual beyond the phenotype. Typically when I engage with a person rather than my stereotype of him or her, I discover we possess some common ground. I correct misperceptions (“missed” perceptions as I term it) that I displace on people every day. But I also realize that because racism is so embedded in our cognitive processes (sustaining implicit racial biases), and forms an essential component of one’s self-concept, making these intentional changes may not be enough. People see what they believe. How then does one begin to teach and make people aware of racism, let alone learn to let it go?
From “Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America” by Catherine Meeks – Morehouse Publishing