As a social scientist I appreciated this week’s readings. Shankar Vendantam, The Hidden Brain -which discussed the brain on “autopilot” and children’s absorption through cultural upbringing associations of faces really struct me. the author states that, “hidden associations” of that essentially determine what happens in the unconscious minds of these children. “Our hidden brains will always recognize people’s races, and they will do so from a very, very young age,” Vedantam says. “The far better approach is to put race on the table, to ask [children] to unpack the associations that they are learning, to help us shape those associations in more effective ways.” The author also speaks to the fact of the “colorblindness” issue of the U.S. (it would be nice if everyone were colorblind but in all reality we are not)
I appreciated reading this document as I have yet to teach and being an instructor in Sociology I have been anxious in thinking how I would discuss and instruct topics of race and race related issues to students that already have a positionality. I have been anxious about how I would introduce “uncomfortable” conversations to students but still constructing an environment of respect of peer option. The author lightly mentions about how to “take back the controls” of our unconscious thoughts but does not go into detail about how to do so -the only critique that I have about this piece but otherwise it is useful to read insight to how our conscious and unconscious mind works. The author states that we us our unconsciousness/ “hidden brain” more often than we may realize.
Diversity enhances creativity. To me that is a clear statement. The fact that there are structure issues in society that is not inclusive and pushes a homogeneous group up in society while leaving others behind in problematic. The fact there is a “Inclusive VT” program in 2017 worries me a little (even though it is a great program and I appreciate the call for inclusion) these efforts should have been put into the making along time ago. “If we are to change, grow and innovate as quoted from Katherine W. Phillips, “How Diversity Makes us Smarter”. The discussion of safe spaces was also a topic in this week’s readings, speaking from my perspective and my identity in society there are a lack of safe space to have conversations in relation to race and social justice, in academia that is another story. As an instructor my hopes are to create a space space for my students especially with having to instruct course that directly deal with these issues. Would that space provide students with enough comfortableness for them to share the thoughts in their hidden brain? Would that be necessary for students in order the feel included and heard (as we all have had different experiences)? These questions maybe answered in different way or not at all, however as I am a still in the learning process I do hope that I learn how to construct a conducive classroom environment for all my students to be able to think like a sociologist.