1st Edition

Our Racist Heart?
An Exploration of Unconscious Prejudice in Everyday Life

ISBN 9780415612999
Published January 11, 2013 by Routledge
320 Pages 60 B/W Illustrations

USD $29.95

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Book Description

Few people today would admit to being a racist, or to making assumptions about individuals based on their skin colour, or on their gender or social class. In this book, leading psychologist Geoffrey Beattie asks if prejudice, more subtle than before, is still a major part of our everyday lives.

Beattie suggests that implicit biases based around race are not just found in small sections of our society, but that they also exist in the psyches of even the most liberal, educated and fair-minded of us. More importantly, the book outlines how these ‘hidden’ attitudes and prejudices can be revealed and measured, and how they in turn predict behaviours in a number of important social situations.

Our Racist Heart? takes a fresh look at our racial attitudes, using new technology and experimental approaches to show how unconscious biases influence our everyday actions and thinking. These groundbreaking results are brought to life using the author’s own experiences of class and religious prejudice in Northern Ireland, and are also discussed in relation to the history of race, racism and social psychological theory.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Challenged by History 1. Introduction: Approaches and Avoidances 2. A Room Steeped in the Past 3. Early lessons in Prejudice: Spoken and Unspoken 4. Who Needs a Negro? 5.The Nature of Prejudice Part 2. A Pipeline to the Soul? 6. The Times They Are a Changin’ (Or not, as the Case may be) 7. The Inner Conflict 8. How Much of our Attitude is Unconscious? 9. Measuring the Conscious 10. A New Way into our Unconscious Attitude 11. By-passing the Conscious Mind Part 3. The Project Itself: Are we Implicitly Racist? 12. A New Test of Implicit Ethnic Bias 13. New Data on Possible Implicit Ethnic Bias 14. Am I Racist? 15. Why Aren’t We Saving the Planet?: Another Example of Unconscious Bias in Action 16. How Ethnicity and Implicit Attitudes may Affect Shortlisting for University Posts 17. So What Can We Do About All This? Appendix 1 Appendix 2

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Geoffrey Beattie is Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester and Visiting Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His previous work has either won or been shortlisted for a number of major awards. He has also presented several television series on BBC1, Channel 4 and UKTV.



"Beattie skillfully weaves together personal narratives with stringent assessments of discriminatory behavior. This is a book for anyone interested in issues of diversity and the impact of prejudice. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers." - D. J. Winchester, Yeshiva University, USA, in CHOICE

"An Intriguing book which holds the reader's attention. ... A convincing account of the importance of psychological research in understanding a phenomenon which has very real, and often devastating effects on the life chances of people in stigmatised social groups." - Eona Bell, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, in the LSE Review of Books

"Geoffrey Beattie has written a remarkable book. He tells the story of his early life in Belfast, as he presents his new research into prejudice’s unconscious aspects. This combination of the autobiographical and the academic results in a work that is always fascinating, deeply felt and beautifully written." - Michael Billig, Professor of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, UK 

"An up-to-date, revealing, provocative and (in several places) personal book – it is timely, important and elegantly stated. The writing is appealing, clear, direct, sometimes poetic, definitely approachable, and hard to put down." - David McNeill, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, USA

"Beattie uses his own inimitable blend of laugh-out-loud humour and expert observation to weave his way through this most difficult of subjects. His use of fascinating personal experience of bias, set in the context of psychological academic study, offers an intriguing new perspective on how we view our own attitudes and those of others. Unique in its approach, this is an outstanding and seminal piece of work." - Zoe Wood, Head of Research, Idox Information Solutions

"Using his own personal life experience adds a different dimension to this book - it feels like you are been taken on a journey of self-discovery that makes you question yourself more than you perhaps have in the past." - Patrick Johnson, Head of Equality and Diversity, University of Manchester, UK

"A clear and comprehensive book that makes a major contribution to the fields of social and applied psychology, education and sociology. The text should also be of considerable value to policy makers in the domain of employment decisions and education."- Doron Cohen, School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Manchester, UK

“Beattie tackles an age-old issue that has baffled and captured much social psychological research and work. Revisiting concepts such as implicit and unconscious attitudes, the book attempts a re-engagement of prejudice’s content and context.” -Peace Kiguwa, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg