Q: I suppose racism is a type of stereotyping but, hey, everyone does it, right?
A: Actually, I don’t think everyone does this. Many have told me that initially they recognize their own bias but are able to course-correct quite quickly because everything starts in the brain and actions follow thoughts. According to Newberg and Waldman, it is easier for the brain to first quantify objects into pairs and then differentiate them into opposing groups: right or wrong, light or dark, Republican or Democrat, etc. This neural process of simplification and generalization is a form of biological stereotyping because it does not take into account individual differences and nuances. Once an oppositional dyad is created, the brain will then impose an emotional bias on each, e.g., root for favorite sports team and disparage the other. This includes people from different cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Unfortunately, this inborn "Us-versus-Them" mentality easily converts into racism. (Newberg, Andrew, MD, and Mark Robert Waldman. Why We Believe What We Believe. P 87-92. NY: Free Press, 2006)