9th Circuit Court Andi Cumbo-Floyd A People's History of the United States Barack Obama Beacon Broadside Beacon Press Belvie Rooks Brown University Bruce Springsteen Center for Justice & Peacebuilding Children's Defense Fund Civil Rights CNN Coming to the Table Dr. Martin Luther King Eastern Mennonite University Facebook Gather at the Table George Orwell Ghana Goodwin Liu Inheriting the Trade James DeWolf Perry Jim Crow Jon Stewart Jr. Melissa Harris-Perry Michelle Alexander Michelle Obama Mike Dooley MSNBC NPR Our Black Ancestry PBS President Obama Sharon Leslie Morgan Sharon Morgan STAR Summer Peacebuilding Institute Susan Hutchison The Daily Show The New Jim Crow Thomas Jefferson Traces of the Trade Trayvon Martin
Most recent posts
The Immeasurable Distance Between Us
Remembering Peter Norman: an oft-forgotten white man in the Black Power movement
Altered States – Wanna Float?
Baby at the Airport
Thank you, Ben Affleck. Now what?
Why I LOVE to collect author autographs
Most recent comments
Remembering Peter Norman: an oft-forgotten white man in the Black Power movement (1)
Yoleen: I remember that moment, too, and I was six years old at the time. Tolerance and...
Today, April 25, is “Reversing Diabetes Action Day” (3)
jocelyn: I hope you're doing OK now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Simply...
Baby at the Airport (4)
Melissa: I'm reminded that by looking into the eye of a baby, one can see the...
Mark Offenbacher: Tom, Great story, I’m sure the baby will be sharing it as well....
Didie: Wow! Beautiful experience!
Appearances by Tom
Author Stuff, Writing
Coming to the Table
Gather at the Table
Inheriting the Trade
Race, Oppression, Privilege
Traces of the Trade
Trauma and Healing
Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!
Are We Born Racist?Posted August 16th, 2010 by Tom
Much of the research I’ve done (and classes I’ve taken through the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University over the past few years) to help me understand the history, legacy, and present-day impact of slavery and racism has led me to the brain. Understanding historic trauma and how it is passed down from generation to generation requires a better understanding of how trauma impacts, and is incorporated into, the brain.
My publisher, Beacon Press, has recently put out a terrific new book that I highly recommend to everyone who is interested in digging beneath the headlines about Shirley Sherrod, Dr. Laura, and other stories where accusations of “racism” are tossed about, to understand what’s really at work when it comes to our prejudices.
Are We Born Racist? New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology is written in lay terms and is easy to read. It will increase your understanding about how deeply embedded, and normal, our harmful prejudices are, where they come from, and how significantly they impact our daily lives and harm our health.
The good news is that the scientists, psychologists, and educators who contributed to Are We Born Racist? show that we are not stuck with our prejudices. We can override the hard-wiring in our brains and reduce our harmful impulses. But it takes more than good intentions (and we all know where the roads are paved with good intentions). It requires dedicated effort to understand the root causes and then working together to challenge harmful, systemic, societal stereotypes.
The first step is to learn about the “hows and whys” of prejudice. Reading Are We Born Racist? is a great place to begin.