Declaring your anti-racist intentions may make you more racist.

It is probably not a good idea to publicly declare that you intend to be less racist, or that you are trying to be less racist. Doing so may make you less likely to change, which would result in you continuing with your racist behaviours.

In a post titled, Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them., Derek Sivers writes:

Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.

Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.

In 1933, W. Mahler found that if a person announced the solution to a problem, and was acknowledged by others, it was now in the brain as a “social reality”, even if the solution hadn’t actually been achieved.

NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer has been studying this since his 1982 book “Symbolic Self-Completion” (pdf article here) – and recently published results of new tests in a research article, “When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?”

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White liberals blame white conservatives for white racism.

White liberals blame white racism on white conservatives, and white urbanites associate whiteness with white suburbanites. However, the type of white people that people of colour know in real life tend to be liberal, urban whites, not conservative whites or suburban whites. After all, people of colour in North America tend to live in urban and liberal cities, not white suburbs or conservative rural areas.

When most white liberals think of white racism, they think of the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and Republicans. When most white urbanites think of whiteness, they think of the suburbs, white picket fences, sweaters, sweater-vests, sandwiches, mayonnaise, green lawns and backyards, and Wal*Mart shoppers.   Basically, most white liberals associate white racism with white conservatives, and most white urbanites associate whiteness with white suburbanites. Since white liberals are not white conservatives, it is difficult for them to accept that they could be racist. Since white urbanites are not white suburbanites, it is difficult for them to view their own behaviour as typical white behaviour.

Many white, urban liberals believe that they are transcending their whiteness by ordering General Tso/Tao’s Chicken, buying “curry” powder, taking yoga, wearing “African” jewellery, eating Thai food, drinking “chai tea”, carrying around Sigg bottles with a Buddha design, toting handbags with Ganesh embroidered on it, and hanging dream catchers on their rearview mirrors. That is, liberal, urban whites believe that participating in these activities makes them cosmopolitan and multicultural. However, for most people of colour living in liberal, North American cities, to engage in these behaviours is to engage in typical white behaviour.  In other words, white, urban liberals are unaware of how white their tastes, lifestyles, and thinking are, yet ironically, they believe that they are racially enlightened and culturally aware, and different from other whites.

If you are a white liberal and you think you have an enlightened idea about race, ask yourself if other white liberals would agree with your idea. If you answered yes, your idea is probably not that enlightening.

If you are a white liberal and other white liberals think like you, and you think like other white liberals, it means that you are a typical white liberal. For most people of colour in North America, this means that you are a typical white person.