Studies re racism, memory, age
March 13, 2009 2:26 PM   Subscribe

ISO studies re differing perceptions of racism among same-race witnesses.

I am looking for studies or case studies to explain why two different black witnesses, both female but one in her 40s, one in her 60s, might perceive or remember incidents of workplace racism differently. We're set for logical explanations and/or explanations specific to our fact pattern -- right now I'm looking for psychological or other sorts of studies about memory, race, and age.
posted by ClaudiaCenter to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wow thats a specific question. Good job.

Check out this crew. Although the laboratory focuses on "identification", I'm looking through their research and biblio, and it seems as if there are TONS of things there that would help you out.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:13 PM on March 13, 2009

I am immediately struck by the fact that one grew up in the 1950s-1960s and the other grew up in the 1970s-1980s. During their formative years, they experienced vastly different racial landscapes. The older witness probably remembers schools being desegregated. The younger witness grew up watching Eddie Murphy movies and children's programing designed to drill into her that everyone is equal and race doesn't matter. I would imagine that both see racism and racist acts differently because they come from such different places.

Thinking about this reminded me of the differences between those who experienced the great depression and their children and grandchildren who did not. If you can't find any relevant studies that explicitly address racism, perhaps there are similar studies regarding differences in generational perception that examine the great depression and could be extrapolated from.
posted by Nonce at 5:04 PM on March 13, 2009

You might check out the work of Dr. Carolyn Finney. I wonder if she'd know of helpful studies or if she could send you an annotated bibliography if you emailed her.

She's an amazing storyteller, by the way. I think of her here because I once heard her tell a very powerful story about going with her dad to a historic memorial and their different reactions to a display that included a Jim Crow sign. (I'll leave the story for her to tell. It'll end up on YouTube soon enough.)
posted by salvia at 7:07 PM on March 15, 2009

In case it's not obvious which of her work is relevant, I'm thinking of her first book, which "explores the relation of African Americans to the environment and to the environmental movement. In particular...the role of memory and identity in influencing African American environmental participation..."
posted by salvia at 7:08 PM on March 15, 2009

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