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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1633071
 
 

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Seeing Through Colorblindness: Implicit Bias and the Law


Jerry Kang


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Kristin Lane


Bard College Program in Psychology

June 30, 2010

UCLA Law Review, Vol. 58, p. 465, 2010
UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 10-22

Abstract:     
Once upon a time, the central civil rights questions were indisputably normative. What did “equal justice under law” require? Did it, for example, permit segregation, or was separate never equal? This is no longer the case. Today, the central civil rights questions of our time turn also on the underlying empirics. In a post-civil rights era, in what some people exuberantly embrace as post-racial, many assume that we already live in a colorblind society. Is this in fact the case? Recent findings about implicit bias from mind scientists sharply suggest other-wise. This Article summarizes the empirical evidence that rejects facile claims of perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral colorblindness. It then calls on the law to take a “behaviorally realist” account of these findings, and maps systematically how it might do so in sensible, non-hysterical, and evidence-based ways. Recognizing that this call may be politically naive, the Article examines and answers three objections, sounding in “junk science” backlash, “hard-wired” resignation, and “rational” justification.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 56

Keywords: implicit bias, behavioral realism, implicit association test, IAT, backlash, colorblindness, social cognition, discrimination, affirmative action, profiling, determinism

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Date posted: July 1, 2010 ; Last revised: January 5, 2011

Suggested Citation

Kang, Jerry and Lane, Kristin, Seeing Through Colorblindness: Implicit Bias and the Law (June 30, 2010). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 58, p. 465, 2010; UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 10-22. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1633071

Contact Information

Jerry Kang (Contact Author)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )
385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-206-7298 (Phone)
310-206-7010 (Fax)
Kristin Lane
Bard College Program in Psychology ( email )
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000
United States
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