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Ordinary Racism

Ordinary Racism

Every community has a story that changes over time. To rally a population is to lock them into a past without present or future: to assign it to be a race without history.

Groups labeled "races" are referred to as immobile in history: incapable of the slightest social, religious, economic or political change. To those who are thus locked up in "a race", a magic circle from which we can not go out, we say: "You, you are always the same".

Toute communauté a une histoire qui se transforme au fil du temps. Raciser une population, c’est l’enfermer dans un passé sans présent ni avenir : l’assigner à être une Race sans histoire.

Les groupes qualifiés de « races » sont désignés comme les immobiles de l’histoire : incapables du moindre changement social, religieux, économique, politique. À ceux qu’on enferme ainsi dans « une race », cercle magique dont on ne peut sortir, on assène : « Vous, vous êtes toujours les mêmes ».

« Le racisme n’a pas besoin d’être expliqué ni d’être analysé pour opérer. Ses slogans s’avancent, irrépressibles, comme une marée qui à tout moment peut engloutir une société. Parce que le racisme n’a nul besoin d’être fondé pour être. Affirmation catégorique, aussi absolue qu’indémontrable, le racisme a toutes les allures d’un axiome. Compréhensible par tout le monde, sans être admis par tous, le racisme est une notion d’autant plus efficace qu’elle est confuse, d’autant plus dynamique qu’elle se pare de l’évidence. »

Maurice Olender

What I call ordinary racism is all those little phrases that are bogged down with prejudices that we hear on a daily basis but against which we have no legal recourse and which, in my opinion, constitute micro-aggression.

Rokhaya Diallo

Theory and research in cultural psychology highlight the need to examine racism not only “in the head” but also “in
the world.” Racism is often defined as individual prejudice, but racism is also systemic, existing in the advantages and
disadvantages imprinted in cultural artifacts, ideological discourse, and institutional realities that work together with
individual biases. In this review, we highlight examples of historically derived ideas and cultural patterns that maintain
present-day racial inequalities. We discuss three key insights on the psychology of racism derived from utilizing a
cultural-psychology framework. First, one can find racism embedded in our everyday worlds. Second, through our
preferences and selections, we maintain racialized contexts in everyday action. Third, we inhabit cultural worlds that,
in turn, promote racialized ways of seeing, being in, and acting in the world. This perspective directs attempts at
intervention away from individual tendencies and instead focuses on changing the structures of mind in context that
reflect and reproduce racial domination.

From  Racism in the Structure of Everyday Worlds: A Cultural-Psychological Perspective Phia S. Salter1, Glenn Adams, and Michael J. Perez Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Texas A&M University; 2 Africana Studies Program, Texas A&M University; and 3 Department of Psychology, University of Kansas

Child psychologist Dr. Melissa Sporn and a group of parents share their advice for talking to kids about racism and current events.

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