Attacks on the Black community's character continue

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 4/12/2012, 12:54 p.m.
A whirlwind of activity via pop culture, politics and law enforcement has put Black people...
Attacks on the Black community's character continue

"These examples seem to be effects on the behavior, judgments and perceptions of whites and the effect of those on the Black community," Greenwald continued. "That is a familiar story to which the work of Project Implicit is very relevant. Such discrimination has a mixture of causes, including both implicit and explicit bias."

In the case of Zimmerman's shooting of Martin, Joe Oliver was brought out as the "Black friend" to speak on Zimmerman's behalf to prove he wasn't racist. Oliver engaged in a heated exchange with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell and New York Times reporter Charles Blow on O'Donnell's show several weeks ago. To psychologist and television personality Dr. Jeff Gardere, the curious case of the "Black friend" and racist accusations constantly popping up signals something built into American life that isn't going away.

"It appears that almost every time racism or prejudice is discussed as a mitigating factor to some situation or event, the knee-jerk reaction by many is to denounce it as being paranoid thinking," Gardere told the AmNews. "The fact of the matter is that prejudice continues to be part of the fabric of our American society. Until we are able to discuss these issues in an open and fair manner, they will not go away."

With the actions that accompany bias, many Black parents have to talk to Black children at an early age about race relations. Gardere advises adults to not shy away from the talk. He believes that one should be as direct as possible when discussing how race might affect them and how to react accordingly.

"We should be honest with our children and explain to them how prejudice will affect their lives," said Gardere. "We should have open and straightforward conversations with them as to how to recognize racism, sexism, homophobia and prejudice and how to respond in a positive and productive manner.

"It is important as adults that we do not openly complain but instead show understanding as to why inequities are part of life and how we create empowerment strategies to overcome them," concluded Gardere.