9th Circuit Court American Idol A People's History of the United States Barack Obama Beacon Broadside Beacon Press Belvie Rooks Bill Clinton Bill O'Reilly Brown University Bruce Springsteen Cape Coast Center for Justice & Peacebuilding Center for Justice and Peacebuilding Children's Defense Fund Civil Rights CNN Coming to the Table Dr. Martin Luther King Eastern Mennonite University Facebook Gather at the Table Ghana Goodwin Liu Inheriting the Trade James DeWolf Perry Jim Crow Jon Stewart Jr. Melissa Harris-Perry Michelle Obama MSNBC NPR Our Black Ancestry PBS President Obama Sharon Leslie Morgan Sharon Morgan STAR Summer Peacebuilding Institute Susan Hutchison The Daily Show Thomas Jefferson Traces of the Trade Trayvon Martin
Most recent posts
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
Yes, Bill O’Reilly, there IS such a thing as White Privilege
Satisfaction from Physical Things
Remembering Wiletta Woodson with a big smile on my face
My Salinger Year – a book review
Hangin’ out with Robin Williams at the Springsteen gig
A Message for Peace
Sometimes my life gets in the way of my life
Most recent comments
Yes, Bill O’Reilly, there IS such a thing as White Privilege (2)
robbyn swinton: If theres one thing the African American community wants the world to...
iain mclennon: People have forgotten the ability to distinguish between entertainers...
Satisfaction from Physical Things (3)
Faith Gilpin: Hey, Tom, I GET what you're saying! I, too, get great satisfaction...
William Terrall: Building things … that I can see the lasting impression, of...
Rose: I 'm a writer too, that prefer not to read fiction. Which i consider is a...
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.