102 Iowa L. Rev. 2235 (2016-2017)
Racial Anxiety

handle is hein.journals/ilr102 and id is 2281 raw text is: 









                            Racial Anxiety

                     Rachel D.  Godsil* &  L. Song Richardson*


     ABSTRACT: Many have embraced evidence from the mind sciences that our
     behaviors are often influenced by our implicit biases rather than our conscious
     beliefs. This is one reason why implicit bias has become a staple in trainings
     for judges, lawyers, police officers, teachers, and health care providers. While
     understanding that implicit bias is important, social science research
     demonstrates  that implicit bias alone does not fully account for the racial
     dynamics  that undermine  student achievement and trigger disproportionately
     harsh  discipline, diminish the efficacy of health care and affect morbidity and
     mortality rates, trigger harsher prison sentences, result in child removal, and
     lead  to unnecessary uses of force by police against civilians. Following the
     behavioral  realist approach  to provide  the most  empirically accurate
     understanding   of human behavior, in this Essay, we introduce racial
     anxiety  as an additional  lens for understanding racial disparities of all
     types.
     In the social psychological literature, racial anxiety refers to the concerns that
     often arise both before and during  interracial interactions. People of color
     experience racial  anxiety when   they worry  that they will be subject to
     discriminatory treatment. White people, on the other hand, experience it when
     they worry that they will be perceived as racist. Racial anxiety can influence
     behaviors  and  judgments   in  ways  that  contribute to significant and
     unwarranted   racial disparities even in the absence of both conscious and
     implicit racial bias. Additionally, in concert with implicit racial bias, racial
     anxiety can  aggravate interracial dynamics in ways  that create significant
     harm.  This Essay explores how racial anxiety operates, discusses its probable




        Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law. J.D., University
of Michigan Law School; B.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    **  Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, University of
California, Irvine School of Law. J.D., The Yale Law School; A.B., Harvard College.
The authors wish to thank Phillip Atiba Goff, Alexis McGill Johnson, john a. powell, and Linda
R. Tropp for their input and Zackory Burns for excellent research assistance. Song Richardson
also wishes to express gratitude to her colleagues Mario Barnes, Alex Camacho, Erwin
Chemerinsky, Seth Davis, Joe DiMento, Michele Goodwin, Kaaryn Gustafson, Katie Porter, Tony
Reese, Benjamin van Rooij, and Chris Whytock as well as Tracey Meares and participants in the
Criminal Justice Roundtable at The Yale Law School for comments on an earlier version of this
Essay. Finally, we thank the editors of the Iowa Law Review, and specifically Alyssa Carlson,
Matthew Cubin, and Andrew Stanley for their work editing this Essay.


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