The Psychology of Prejudice is a course that I teach at Georgia Highlands College. One of the goals of this course is to create a "Universal Identity" in which students are presented materials and resources showing that we have many different ethnic/racial groups within our own genetic make-up. Our minds have constructed race as a method of division among human-beings, but within our bodies there is unity. Another method I use in the course is giving students the tools to gain access to their own implicit/unconscious racial biases. One of the assignments students complete is the Implicit Association Test. This is a psychological measure that allows people to better understand how they perceive members of different racial groups (i.e. Black people vs. White people).
Neveen Abaza, was a student in the course who learned that she has what is called a neutral implicit race bias. This means that she perceives Black and White people equally positive. This is a racial bias that we all should aspire to have but unfortunately do not. Neveen was inspired by her egalitarian implicit racial attitudes as well as the material highlighting commonalities among all humans. She gained a Universal Identity and realized that although we may call ourselves, "Black", "White", "Mexican, "Chinese", etc., these are all relatively modern labels and no one is 100% of any of these groups. This inspired her to learn more about the many different ethnic groups that make-up her genetic code. With the help of Ancestry DNA, she submitted a sample of her DNA for analysis and found out that the labels she has been using to identify herself as "Black" and "White" were in fact socially constructed and in reality she has numerous ethnic groups within her DNA. Not only does she have racial attitudes that are positive for multiple groups, she also has the DNA of multiple groups flowing through her veins.
While Neveen came to the course with positive racial attitudes for multiple groups, this was not the case for all of the students who entered the class. Neveen was the only student who decided to order the DNA test after the course, but the other students could have also benefited from learning about the many ethnic groups that are within their genetic codes. Some of the students had implicit preferences for Black people, some for White people, but by the end of the course many reported seeing that these are social constructions and that their preferences and biases have merely been shaped by their experiences. After the course, they reported feeling more connected to other ethnic/racial groups and desiring to step out of their comfort zones in order to get to know more about different groups in order to decrease their own biases.