Questions for ‘Psychology shines light on the harm racism can do’

a photo of various Asian adults protesting and holding signs. One of the signs reads "Stop Asian Hate"

Protesters here rallied against anti-Asian hate at a San Francisco, Calif., courthouse in April 2021.

Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images News

To accompany “Psychology shines light on the harm racism can do


Before Reading:

  1. What is racism and why can it be so hurtful?
  2. Racism is often described in terms of how white people treat Black people. In addition to Black people, who are some other groups that can be hurt by racist acts? Name as many as you can.

During Reading:

  1. What happened to the Cung family on March 14? Why were the attacks considered acts of racism?
  2. In the year starting March 2020, how many racist incidents were reported against Asian Americans?
  3. What is implicit bias? What evidence does social psychologist Keith Payne offer to suggest community levels of implicit bias can have their roots in history?
  4. Behavioral researcher Michael Rosenblum says people can telegraph racist beliefs. What are some examples that he gives?
  5. What are microaggressions and what are some examples offered up by Asian American studies professor Russell Jeung?
  6. What did social psychologist Sapna Cheryan find out in her study of menu choices among Asian Americans?
  7. How did the rating that parents gave for their children’s overall health differ for kids who had experienced racial discrimination and those who had not?
  8. How might racism (recent events or those with longer histories whose effects continue today) have affected COVID-19 risks in 2020 and 2021?
  9. Based on what you read in the story, what did health researcher David Curtis and his team learn about the impact of news about racist acts on the mental health of U.S. adults?
  10.  What are strategies the story points to for confronting racism in your school or the community in which you live?

After Reading:

  1. If you come from a community that frequently experiences racism, what two things would you like people to know about how it affects you and the people around you? If you come from a community that is frequently accused of racist acts or implicit bias, what two things would you like to learn from those who face frequent microaggressions or outright hate over skin color? If you can, set up a classroom discussion to air these questions and glean answers.
  2. On a genetic level, people are just people — exhibiting a vast range of eye colors, skin colors, hair colors, abilities, heights, body shapes and personality traits. Indeed, in 2002, an international team of researchers published a landmark study in Science: It found no genetic evidence for “races.” There was so much variation within each so-called race that two people within such a group may be more different genetically than would be two people from different races. Based on this, why do you think some people point to skin color as such a defining difference among the many widely variable human traits? Marshal arguments from science and the things you learned in this story to create a campaign to fight racial bias (including implicit bias) among your student body and the communities in which you live.