Whiteliness and institutional racism: hiding behind (un)conscious bias
Abstract‘Unconscious bias happens by our brains making incredibly quick judgements and assessments without us realising. Biases are influenced by background, cultural environment and experiences and we may not be aware of these views and opinions, or of their full impact and implications. This article opposes this point of view by arguing that bias is not unconscious but is (un)conscious and linked to Charles Mills’ ‘Racial Contract’ and its ‘epistemologies of ignorance’. These epistemologies emerge from what the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) calls ‘our background, cultural environment and personal experience’. Asserting that racism stems from ‘unconscious bias’ diminishes white supremacy and maintains white innocence as a ‘will to forget’ institutional racism. In equality and diversity training ‘unconscious bias’ has become a performative act to move beyond racism through training to participate in a constructed ‘post-racial’ reality. The article argues that through decolonizing ‘unconscious bias’, ‘white fragility’ and ‘self-forgiveness’ we can begin to see hidden institutional whiteliness at the base of (un)conscious bias.
CitationTate, S. and Page, D. (2018) Whiteliness and institutional racism: Hiding behind (un)conscious bias. Ethics and Education, 13 (1). pp. 141-155. ISSN 1744-9642 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17449642.2018.1428718
JournalEthics and Education
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Routledge in Ethics and Education, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/17449642.2018.1428718 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/