Our mission at the Greater Good Science Center is to elevate the human potential for compassion. But that does not mean we deny or dismiss the human potential for violence, particularly toward marginalized or dehumanized groups.
For centuries, African Americans and other communities of color have been subject to this physical and structural violence, denied their humanity and often their basic right to exist. That’s why we are gathering Greater Good pieces that explore our potential to reduce bias and contribute to racial justice. The science we cover reveals the considerable psychological and structural challenges we are up against. But it also gives hope that another world is possible.
You can read our latest coverage on racism, diversity, and bridging differences—or start with the key articles below. We’ll continue to update this page with resources for individuals, parents, and educators.
Click to jump to a section:
–The psychological roots of racism
–How to overcome bias in yourself
–Reducing bias in criminal justice
–Resources for parents
–Resources for educators
–More anti-racism resources
The psychological roots of racism
- Understanding Our New Racial Reality Starts with the Unconscious: Egalitarian goals can be undermined by deeply rooted implicit biases, says john a. powell. To address racial discrimination, we need to look inward.
- Look Twice: Susan T. Fiske has some bad news: Prejudice might be hardwired in our brains. But the good news is that we can still learn to override our prejudices and embrace difference.
- Racism Is Not a Mental Illness: Many people argue that racism must be a form of mental illness. What does the science suggest?
- The Psychology of Taking a Knee: The backlash against protests by Colin Kaepernick and other athletes raises scientific questions about body language, power, and group dynamics.
- Can Threats to Humanity Make Us More Prejudiced?: Research suggests that prejudice increases in the face of threats like climate change, recessions, and epidemics.
- How the Pandemic Divides Us: Physical distance protects us from COVID-19, but it also gives rise to some of the ugliest human tendencies.
- What’s Driving Political Violence in America?: Hate crimes are rising, and so is support for political violence. New research explores why—and what we can do to stop it.
How to overcome bias in yourself
- How to Stop the Racist in You: The new science of bias suggests that we all carry prejudices within ourselves—and we all have the tools to keep them in check.
- The Egalitarian Brain: Research on the neuroscience of prejudice is revealing how the brain can overcome our fears and racial biases, reports David Amodio.
- How to Fight Racism Through Inner Work: Rhonda Magee explains how mindfulness-based awareness and compassion is key to racial justice work.
- How Mindfulness Can Defeat Racial Bias: There might be a solution to implicit racial bias, argues Rhonda Magee: cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.
- How to Avoid Picking Up Prejudice from the Media: News, entertainment, and social media shape how we behave toward different groups of people. How can we limit negative influences?
- How to Beat Stereotypes by Seeing People as Individuals: We often judge people by their group membership—but research suggests other ways to see each other.
- Why Telling Our Own Story Is So Powerful for Black Americans: Andrea Collier reflects on the role of storytelling in black American history—and in her own life.
- Why Are Asian Americans Being Attacked and What Can You Do About It?: Here are science-backed ways we can reduce hatred and division.
- Can the Science of Purpose Help Explain White Supremacy?: A sense of purpose makes us physically and psychologically stronger. But what if your purpose is hateful and destructive?
- Eight Ways to Stand Up to Hate: Hate crimes and hateful language are on the rise. What are you going to do about it?
- From Othering to Belonging: In a Science of Happiness podcast, we explore racial justice, well-being, and widening our circles of connection and concern.
- Why Is COVID-19 Killing So Many Black Americans?: The answer, according to researchers, is racism. But the Black community is fighting back.
Reducing bias in criminal justice
- Why Diversity Didn’t Save Tyre Nichols: The killing of Tyre Nichols complicates a common narrative: that the key to countering racism in our institutions is simply to diversify.
- Can We Train American Police to Turn Away from Violence?: American police are not well trained compared to those in other countries. That needs to change if we want to prevent incidents like the one that killed Tyre Nichols.
- Can Police Departments Reduce Implicit Bias?: Oakland’s assistant police chief says that law enforcement must work hard to reduce implicit bias and create a new path for police-community relations. But the problem is not intractable.
- Three Ways to Reduce Implicit Bias in Policing: Can we correct for unconscious prejudice in law enforcement? Former police officer Tracie Keesee says yes.
- How to Reduce Racial Profiling: Evidence says that implicit racial bias influences police in deciding which cars to stop. But there’s a better way, argues Jack Glaser.
- How Challenging Stereotypes Can Save Black Lives: When police stereotype African Americans, the results can be deadly. But new studies suggest ways to help all of us see each other as complex human beings.
- Is Funding Police the Best Way to Keep Everyone Safe?: The call to “defund the police” may make sense, according to research. But to understand why, we need to go beyond the slogan.
- What Makes a Good Interaction Between Divided Groups?: Intergroup contact can help bridge divides, under certain conditions.
- What Happens When You Tell Your Story and I Tell Mine?: Sometimes, empathy isn’t enough. New research reveals how taking and giving perspectives can help us to bridge our differences.
- Five Ways to Have Better Conversations Across Difference: It’s not easy, but we can find common ground in difficult conversations.
- Thoughts on Awkward Relationships and Bridging Divides: In a Science of Happiness podcast, comedian W. Kamau Bell discusses the challenges of finding common ground, even with people in your own family.
- What Will It Take to Bridge Our Differences?: Here are some core insights from the GGSC’s virtual summit on dialogue and understanding across our differences.
Resources for parents
- How Adults Can Support the Mental Health of Black Children: Psychologist Riana Elyse Anderson explains how families can communicate about race and cope with racial stress and trauma.
- Rubbing Off: Allison Briscoe-Smith explains how kids learn about race—and how their parents can help them make sense of difference.
- How to Talk with Your Kids about Donald Trump: Trump is creating fear and confusion in children, especially kids of color. Here are three suggestions for talking with kids about race and racism in the media.
- How to Read Racist Books to Your Kids: Should parents ignore or excise racist imagery in children’s books? Jeremy Adam Smith offers another way, guided by research.
- How Adults Communicate Bias to Children: A new study suggests preschoolers can “catch” prejudice from grown-ups through nonverbal behavior—and it hints at solutions.
- Five Ways to Reduce Racial Bias in Your Children: How do we combat racial prejudice? New research reveals how parents influence the formation of bias in children.
- How to Raise Kids Who Are More Tolerant Than You: How can we avoid feeding hate and distrust in our children?
- Helping Kids Process Violence, Trauma, and Race in a World of Nonstop News, from Common Sense: A conversation with Drs. Allison Briscoe-Smith, Jacqueline Dougé, and Nathan Chomilo.
Resources for educators
Resources to Support Anti-Racist Learning: Read a message from the Greater Good Education team along with articles, books, practices for teachers and students, organizations to follow, and other resources to support anti-racist educators.
More anti-racism resources
- Our Mental Health Minute: A video series created by psychologists Riana Anderson and Shawn Jones to provide mental health resources for the black community.
- Campaign Zero: Research to identify effective solutions to end police violence, provide technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns, and support the development of model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide.
- The Association of Black Psychologists: An organization seeking the liberation of the African Mind, empowerment of the African Character, and enlivenment and illumination of the African Spirit.
- NAACP Coronavirus Resources: A wide-ranging list of pandemic resources for the black community from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
- Black Lives Matter: A global organization that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people.
- Othering & Belonging Institute: Brings together researchers, organizers, stakeholders, communicators, and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society in order to create transformative change.
- The Equal Justice Initiative: Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund: Fund established to assist the children and other family members of George Floyd as they seek justice.
- Official Justice for Breonna Taylor Memorial Fund: Fund established to support the friends and family members of Breonna Taylor as they seek justice for her murder.
- Anti-racism resources for white people: A compilation of books, podcasts, articles, and other media to help white people, particularly parents, better understand racism, their own role in it, and what they can do to help dismantle it