How addressing so-called ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘unwitting racism’ could be the first step to brainwashing


Frank Furedi

is an author and social commentator. He is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Author of How Fear Works: The Culture of Fear in the 21st Century. Follow him on Twitter @Furedibyte

If racism can be unwitting, who decides whether or not an individual is guilty as charged? Typically, the answer is that it is the accuser. The complexity of psychological motivation was resolved by Macpherson in the following terms: “A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.”

So what counts is not the act, but how it is perceived. The principle that an offence is in the eyes of the beholder lends the charge of racism a highly subjective character. Such a subjective standard of proof lends the accusation of racism automatic credibility.

But shouldn’t we be more concerned about what we do, rather than what we – unconsciously – think? This new and sustained focus on the unconscious by the so-called ‘race experts’ who perform the bias training essentially represents the colonisation of people’s internal thought processes.

And if we continue down this path, brainwashing will become legitimate policy.

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