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“Secret Racism”

“Shankar Vedantam, a science writer with the Washington Post, uses [famously racist] Michael Richards in his new book, ‘The Hidden Brain,’ to illustrate the way he believes our unconscious can betray us -- and reveal biases we wouldn't even acknowledge to ourselves. Vedantam uses a wide array of vivid true stories to make his point: The tragic tale of a woman who is brutally beaten in front of dozens of onlookers illustrates how a crowd's inaction can trick our brain into ignoring pleas for help; two transsexuals who've experienced both sides of the gender divide help illuminate how unconscious sexism can change lives.” He says: “The hidden brain is a term I devised. It's a shorthand term that's broadly used to describe unconscious influences in everyday life. I decided to coin it because it was a useful writing device, like Richard Dawkins used the selfish gene, as a way to explain these cognitive processes. I'd describe it as anything that we're not aware of that is influencing us.”
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