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Bias under the hood

Trayvon_martinYou couldn't find a better endorsement for OtherWise than what's been going on down in Florida.

Whatever the full circumstances turn out to be, Trayvon Martin's killing was clearly instigated by one man's inability to see beyond race and hoodie.

As Brent Staples noted in the Sunday New York Times, "Young black men know that in far too many settings they will be seen not as individuals, but as the 'other,' and given no benefit of the doubt."

They know -- and studies have confirmed -- that they suffer from negative associations embedded in popular culture and folk wisdom for centuries. We are all more biased towards young black men than we'd like to admit. 

As a result, young black men are less likely to land a job than young white men with similar educations, less likely to get married, more likely to be stopped for a "record check" when driving, and more likely to be frisked by the police. 

Many of those who marched for justice in this case carried signs saying "I am Trayvon Martin."

Sadly, too many of us could also carry signs saying "I'm George Zimmerman."

 

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