Slow Burn: The Effects of Interpersonal Implicit Discrimination Stephanie J. Cunningham, M.S. University of Southern Indiana Counseling Center Our Plan ► Defining discrimination and privilege ► Characterizing how privilege is communicated in interpersonal interactions ► Describing ► Discussing the effects of implicit discrimination how to decrease the likelihood of engaging in implicit discrimination What Is Discrimination? ► Acts of bias based on aspects of identity ► Typically ► Now construed as willful acts it is more likely to be an unintended side effect Implicit Discrimination ► Expressing ► Levels our privilege without recognizing it of communication Explicit and implicit ► Privilege scrambles the message A Privilege Primer ► What does it mean to have privilege? Social benefits that come from group membership ► Privilege is the flip side of discrimination It exists for all aspects of identity ► White privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, able-bodied privilege, etc. It is not all-or-nothing for each person ► Privilege is meant to be outside of the awareness of the privileged group What Does Implicit Discrimination Look Like? ► Two interpersonal avenues Microaggressions Commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults (Sue, 2010) ► Wielding privilege as a weapon or a shield Using rhetorical tactics that permit avoidance of recognizing or confronting privilege ► Forms of Microaggression ► Microinsult Communications that convey rudeness, insensitivity, or demeaning of another's heritage Ascription of intelligence, pathologizing cultural values or communication, assumption of criminal status ► ► Microinvalidation Communications that exclude, negate, or nullify thoughts, feelings or experiential reality Color blindness, myth of meritocracy, denial of individual racism ► Content drawn from Sue, D.W. (2010). Microaggressions in Everyday Life. p.29-34 Rhetorical Privilege ► Communication strategies that obfuscate or disrupt attempts at difficult dialogues “If you won’t educate me, how can I learn?” “But that happens to me too!” “I won’t continue this conversation until you calm down.” “You’re taking this too personally.” “You’re not like the others.” “But I’m not like that!” Content adapted from Derailing for Dummies, www.derailingfordummies.com Why Does This Stuff Matter? ► It is immediately hurtful to the person and the relationship ► It promotes maintenance of privilege ► It negatively affects both the person and the culture in several ways Physical and psychological well-being Likelihood of personal success Access to and inclusion within institutions Physical and Psychological Health ► Psychological effects General distress, increase in psychiatric symptoms, exacerbation of PTSD symptoms ► Physical effects Substance abuse, hypertension, somatic stress reactions (e.g., headaches, nausea, insomnia), increase in women’s PMS symptoms Impediment to Personal Success ► Stereotype threat (Steele & Aronson, 1995) “being at risk of confirming, as selfcharacteristic, a negative stereotype about one’s group” (p.797) ► Affects performance ► Social identity threat (Branscomb, Ellemers, Spears & Doosje, 1999) [Social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986)] We avoid contexts that are likely to threaten our positive self-impression ►Affects self-image/esteem Access and Inclusion ► The myth of meritocracy limits access ► Restricted access means no building of the “pipeline” for future inclusion ► Creation of a “chilly climate” that discourages inclusion What Are the Implications? ► For our work How do we keep this from affecting our efforts to enhance diversity? Being mindful of how these play out in our work at the micro and macro levels ► ► For ourselves How do we make change in ourselves? ► Grow and develop as an ally for social justice: Reflect on your privilege, consider how it plays out in your life, don’t allow guilt to stymie action, accept that you will screw up, accept that you will be uncomfortable Conclusions ► Remember: Being an ally for social justice is a process, not a goal Appreciate the developmental nature of the process and be kind with it Be open to feedback – seek it and accept it There is ALWAYS more to learn ► Final thoughts, comments, questions?