Internalized Racism: On the Hunt for Solutions

Students and faculty members sit in front of a large projection screen staring at pictures of Donald Trump and then a Black Lives Matter protest in the research lab of Jackson State University’s political science department. Wires connect their fingers, foreheads and torsos to a device that looks like a polygraph, with a laptop recording every slight movement.

#Participants have no time to reflect: pictures pop up for a matter of seconds followed by a blank white screen. The process repeats for a few more minutes, and then the testing is finished. The results will show just how much unconscious biases inform how the subjects see events in the contemporary political scene.

#Byron D’Andra Orey, a JSU political science professor, conducts the experiments, which represent a burgeoning area of study known as “biopolitics,” a field examining the intersection of biology and political behavior. The National Science Foundation provided $410,000 in grants to help the department study the physical effects of racially provocative material.