Let’s Talk About Race – Day 27


Why should racism end Sucheta?

“Why should racism end?” you ask, I say because our brains can lie to us.

Let’s put our brain to work…

Look at the two figures shown here. Tell me, which of the two circles in the center is bigger?

You all might say the one on the left is bigger but the answer is neither.

This is called the Muller-Lyer Illusion. Experiments in neuroscience have shown that our perceptions are guided by the context and the context can fool us. The kicker is not all cultures show equal sensitivity to this. For example, researchers found that people in different parts of the world react differently to the Muller-Lyer Illusion. When things are clear and obvious we process them effortlessly; however, when things get complicated, vague or ambiguous we rely heavily on the context. Race is anything but clear and we have trained our perceptions and beliefs based on the context. Only we can change our brain.

On the bright side, children are less sensitive to this kind of illusion than the adults. And context sensitivity is a skill (just like baseball) that can be developed with sensitivity training and practice.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this.

– Sucheta Kamath

Sucheta Kamath (Founder of Cerebral Matters)

Sucheta, founder of Cerebral Matters (www.cerebralmatters.com), is an expert in strategic learning and the brain. As a trained Speech-Language Pathologist with specialization in Neurogenic Communication disorders, she runs a successful practice that offers solutions to Executive Function problems. Sucheta’s work is inspired by her spiritual practice of introspection and self-awareness.