How We Can Make Racism a Solvable Problem

In his talk entitled ‘How we can make racism a solvable problem, and improve policing’ Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff details how the lens in which we view racism is crucial in our ability to solve the problem.

Dr. Goff details how the most common definition of racism in conversation is that racist behaviors are the product of contaminated hearts and minds. We speak about trying to cure racism by targeting hearts and minds. The problem with that definition is that it is completely wrong, as a foundational insight of social psychology is that attitudes are very weak predictors of behaviors. Racism is about behaviors, not feelings.

Dr. Goff explains his argument further by breaking down why the definition we use for racism is important. If a definition of racism makes it harder to see the pain racism causes, it is more  definition that cares about the intentions of abusers rather than the harms to the abused. In fact, that definition of racism is racist.

When we change the definition of racism from attitudes to behaviors, we transform that problem from impossible to solvable. When it comes to organizational success, when you have a problem or a goal, you measure it and hold yourself accountable to the metric.

As coaches, finding ways to identify behaviors that can be measured, such as microaggressions can be a step towards eliminating racism in your workplace. Dr. Goff speaks on how his company works with Police Forces to eliminate racist behaviors, by identifying what racist behaviors exist in your professional space, you can do the same.

If you would like to watch the full talk by Dr. Goff, you can find the video here:

IOC's Tips of the Week are authored by Austin Matzelle