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Unconscious Bias, Facing the Realities of Racism. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 26, 2020 - 20:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for joining us for this special one-hour program "UNCONSCIOUS BIAS: FACING THE REALITIES OF RACISM."

Everyone has unconscious biases, which are engrained attitudes or judgments that constantly influence our understanding, actions and decisions. And it's those biases that often stand in the way of equality. Contributing to racial injustices that millions are fighting right now to eradicate from our society. And that was the life-long mission of the late Congressman John Lewis, who lies in state tonight at the Alabama state capital.

We have come a long way since the Civil Rights Movement, but there is still unfinished business. As it pertains to unconscious bias, part of the challenge is identifying where it comes from and then trying to fix it.

Here now is CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When "Black Panther" roared into movie theaters, it was a sensation raking in more than $700 million domestically in 2018, launching stars and raising a critical question. If a movie with a black superhero can be so valuable, why are almost all other movie superheroes white?

At the University of Florida where Kate Ratliff specializes in the study of bias, the answer is brutally simple.

KATE RATLIFF, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Because superheroes are good. And, you know, we associate whether we mean to or not, white people associate white with good and black with bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Segregation tomorrow, segregation forever, and segregation forever.

FOREMAN: She's not talking so much about longstanding blatant racism, but rather an insidious cousin called unconscious of implicit bias. Christopher Bridges is with the Equal Justice Society, a legal organization fighting discrimination. CHRISTOPHER BRIDGES, DIRECTOR, IMPLICIT BIAS NETWORK FOR EQUAL JUSTICE

SOCIETY: Implicit bias is the ways in which our brains form these connections in our minds without us constantly thinking about doing so.

FOREMAN: Researchers say implicit bias increases the odds of violence when police meet people of color. It can lead teachers who favor white kids or bosses to shun black job applicants or realtors to steer black families away from white neighbors, and on it goes and many maybe utterly unaware they are acting on these subconscious cues.

But --

BRIDGES: In America, implicit bias if you put the racial bias in an incredibly impacts a lot of the ways in which African-Americans and other people of color live and experience their daily lives.

FOREMAN: So how do you identify implicit bias? There is a test developed at Harvard and we asked Naomi Schatz to take it for us.

NAOMI SCHATZ, PHQ KINESIOLOGY: Growing up, I was definitely in the majority as a white person.

FOREMAN: For about 10 minutes, she rapidly sorted a combination of black and white faces and words associated with good and bad qualities. Sometimes good words were supposed to go with white faces. Sometimes with black faces. Sometimes the opposite. Brain sciences researcher Calvin Lai have administered this test many times.

CALVIN LAI, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGIST AND BRAIN SCIENCES, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, ST. LOUIS: And what we generally find is that non-black people are much faster at sorting white people with good things and black people with bad things than the reverse, white people with bad things, black people with good things.

FOREMAN: And that's what Naomi found. She was surprised.

SCHATZ: I feel like I've educated myself a lot and then to see the score say I still have more work to do.

RATLIFF: Most people in the United States have a genuine desire to be fair. Most people want to treat people equally, but sometimes the biases that we've internalized can prevent us from doing that.

FOREMAN: Implicit bias begins forming in our brains very early. In New York City Eva Vega-Olds uses the test with middle school students and routinely finds hidden bias.

EVA VEGA-OLDS, DIRECTOR OF EQUITY AND COMMUNITY, THE TOWN SCHOOL: A child who recognizes as young as infancy and toddlerhood, whether someone is like them or not, they notice racial, physical, phenotypical differences as young as 2 years old. And they associate that image with values really early on.

FOREMAN: Need more proof of how deeply embedded implicit bias is? Think about Jesus, the central figure of the Christian faith has long been depicted as a white man. And for generations, few Americans questioned this.

RATLIFF: Because it fits our ideas.

FOREMAN: But historians say he was almost certainly dark skinned and just this year a major Catholic newspaper editorial said this paradox born of implicit bias is a problem.


An exclusively white Jesus not only narrows our understanding of him, it sends a message that connects Jesus to the powerful, not the oppressed.

Implicit bias can be about race, religion, age, anything really.

BRIDGES: I would say it's unavoidable, unavoidable to have implicit bias.

FOREMAN: But researchers say it can be changed by individuals.

RATLIFF: Think about the last time you interacted with somebody who was different than you.

FOREMAN: By institution, too.

LAI: It's useful to think about what are the political actions that you can take as well to change the structure of our own society.

FOREMAN: And the whole nation can benefit if we do.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: With us now is Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, a professor of psychology at Stanford University. She's also the author of the book "Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that shapes what we see, think and do.

Dr. Eberhardt, so great to see you. Here you have been studying it for 25 years and we have to ask the questions. You know, how do we become conscious of it in ourselves?

JENNIFER EBERHARDT, AUTHOR, "BIASED": Well, I think we're seeing evidence, you know, of that now that people are becoming more aware of bias. They are becoming more aware of racial disparities. And I think people are also, you know, sort of grappling with that. They are trying to understand what it means. And we have a lot of work to do both individually, but also in terms of our institutions and in terms of our society to get ahold of this.

WHITFIELD: In your studies and in your talks, you tell people, you know, friction is something you're going to confront. But you also have advice on ways in which people need to slow down when they come face to face with that friction. EBERHARDT: Yes, so that's right. So we know a lot about how bias

works. We can sort of, based on decades of research, you know, make predictions about, you know, when bias is going to come alive and when it's going to be mitigated. And so, for example, you know, when we're dealing with the issue of COVID-19 right now, right, all over the country, and we're also in the midst of that trying to deal with racial bias because we know bias is more likely to come forth when we are living in situations of scarcity.

So when there's scarce resources, so like, for example, when not everyone has access to testing for COVID or --

WHITFIELD: Tempers flare.

EBERHARDT: Tempers flare and yes, and you could show up at the hospital, and how do you know, like, you know, who is going to get tested and who isn't. Who is going to be turned away. Who's going to be given a bed, who's going to be given a ventilator. So all of those situations when there's scarcity, you know, bias can be more likely.

WHITFIELD: Once people recognize their bias, you know, are some of us just simply more capable of changing, correcting that bias, recognizing it and making a change for the better?

EBERHARDT: Yes, I mean, of course, there are lots of individual differences. But I guess I would say that we all need help with doing this and we know, you know, just in terms of the science about sort of when it's going to flare up and what to do to mitigate it and so forth, and so, I'd like people to learn more about that, to use science as a tool for helping us to understand it and to predict, you know, when it's going to be an issue.

WHITFIELD: What level of hope do you have for tomorrow on this?

EBERHARDT: You know, I actually have a lot of hope. I feel like this is a moment in time in our nation where we're focused on this. There's a lot of awareness about it that wasn't there before. And I also feel like we're getting a huge, you know, public push to -- you know, for equity, right? For change. And so, you know, I feel that, you know, maybe this is a moment where we can kind of move past, you know, just the window dressing, right, and actually, you know, use policies and practices to bring us to a better place.

WHITFIELD: Doctor Jennifer Eberhardt, thank you so much.

EBERHARDT: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: How much of a role does bias play in policing across America following the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Elijah McClain in Aurora, Colorado?

Street protest continue to heat up in multiple cities. Among the demands being made, reform, retraining and reevaluation. More on that when we return.



Two months after George Floyd was killed at the hands and knee of police in Minneapolis, police departments across the country are reevaluating tactics and training. Implicit bias training is one of those programs. While some officers push back saying the training can hurt morale, others are embracing the change.

Here's CNN's Ryan Young.


MARTIN LUTHER KING III, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE: You cannot change institutional racism overnight. It's a process. It's going to take some time.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the wake of historic protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, some U.S. police departments across the country are touting the benefits of implicit bias training for their officers.

DANIEL HAHN, SACRAMENTO POLICE CHIEF: I think what ails the law enforcement community relationship at the core and what ails us as a society actually from the inception of our country is the issue of race and the issue of differences.

YOUNG: In Sacramento it's about moving the police culture into the future in an effort to keep everyone safe.

HAHN: Our job as leaders isn't just to create a department that provides the best possible service to our community. But it's also to provide the best possible working environment to our members.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to try to be a part of the change to help make things different for people that look like me.

YOUNG: The New Orleans Police Department defines implicit bias as a bias that results from an unconscious stereotype, association or feeling that may exist even without a person's awareness. In other words, an officer may not even realize that they have a bias.

These New Orleans police officers recently took part in an implicit bias training class offered by the organization and the LSU School of Public Health. As part of the class, instructors perform a mock arrest scene with one man in handcuffs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me for interrupting. What is the (INAUDIBLE) room. I need to book this thug.

YOUNG: A few minutes later, class instructor Ameer Baraka introduces himself to the officers. AMEER BARAKA, IMPLICIT BIAS INSTRUCTOR, ACTOR AND AUTHOR: Does anybody

here know me? You never saw me -- anybody? You never saw me before? I was the guy that just came in. I was that guy. And so that's the shock to the consciousness because some people have a bias against African- American males who dress in a hip-hop way. And I think some police officers who have a racial -- implicit racial bias, they don't care if it you dress like this or they don't care if you dress hip-hoppish. They just have that bias.

YOUNG (on camera): And the hope is by arming officers with this implicit bias training that fewer of them will have negative confrontations with minority communities.

STEPHEN JAMES, ASSISTANT RESEARCH PROFESSOR, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY: I do think implicit bias training and other training is important.

YOUNG (voice-over): Lois and Steven James lead the Implicit Bias Training and Research programs at Washington State University, and work directly with police departments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let her go. Ma'am, come up the stairs towards me. Sir, you need to let her go. Let go of her. Come to me, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think anything that makes us aware of our behavior and how that behavior is driving an encounter has the potential to deescalate it.

YOUNG: Implicit bias training isn't new. Among the recommendations in a 2015 presidential task force report, many U.S. police departments include it in their training.

SGT. ANTHONY BAKEWELL, NEW ORLEANS POLICE DEPARTMENT: I love the class in general. I love the open conversation.

LT. REBECCA GUBERT, NEW ORLEANS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Change is hard. And right now policing is going through a big change. It's never comfortable. You have to be introspective and you have to look at your own self and your own motivations. But that's how we win it back.

YOUNG: Police officers across the country know high-profile incidents continue to keep them in the but not for the life-saving work they prefer to be highlighted for. The hope is this training might reduce those instances.

LOIS JAMES, ASSISTANT DEAN FOR RESEARCH AND ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY: I think that more training, I think that better training, it's not going to have that need go away. You know, unfortunately, at the end of the day, the majority of people that show up for recruitment for police agencies are white men. That is the case in most places around the country. We need to help them do better.

BARAKA: For too long I have watched so many black men be killed by law enforcement without a weapon. So that's disturbing. I don't want that to happen. That's the first and foremost thing. And I don't want some wife or some husband because their wives or husbands were in law enforcement to lose out on their career and they can't send their kids to school, et cetera, I mean, because two people are losing in that situation. So it's crucial.

YOUNG: With calls to defund police departments growing, training advocates fear that with smaller budgets, one of the first things to get cut will be this type of training.

S. JAMES: It's a dangerous call for action to defund the police because if you think giving them less resources will equate to better policing. We need to have police officers and police departments and the city municipalities held accountable for how they spend public moneys.

HAHN: And right now it's not an ideal working environment. As we've seen across the country with these protests, that's challenging on everybody, exceptionally challenging on officers. You know, I can't expect an officer to work a 30-year career in that environment.

YOUNG: Ryan young, CNN.


WHITFIELD: Joining me right now is Rashawn Ray, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland. He is the executive director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research at the university which runs bias training programs. And also with me is Renee Mitchel, president and cofounder of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing. Renee is also a former sergeant with the Sacramento Police Department.

Good to see both of you.

So, Renee, you first. You have been calling for change in modern-day policing. What do you think needs to be changed?

RENEE MITCHEL, PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER, THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF EVIDENCE-BASED POLICING: So I think really right now where we're at in the United States is that we need to be using research and data, which you've heard all the speakers talk about and use that to drive our policies and practices and our decision-making. But additionally, one of the things people don't realize when it comes to research and data is that part of being the American society of evidence-based policing is evidence base really means that you're taking the research and applying it to practice.


So one of the things about the implicit bias training is it's not well researched. There's not a lot of evidence that the training actually works to reduce like the use of force incidents to reduce some officers-involved shootings.

What I would really say is that we need to see when we apply the research in the field to do minimized controlled trials like the medical field does to determine if the use of our resources and our taxpayers' moneys are being spent effectively and efficiently to get the outcomes as far as public safety and officer safety that we need. WHITFIELD: And Rashawn, your lab runs implicit bias training programs

using virtual reality. What kind of results are you seeing?

RASHAWN RAY, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: So I think we're seeing tons of things. I mean, in addition to having an implicit bias training approved by the state, what we also do is we take our virtual reality program and we put officers in the types of environments they encounter all the time, from suspicious persons to domestic house scenes and the like. And we found a few central things because what we do is we triangulate data.

We bring in officers' behaviors as well as their unconscious and conscious biases as well as their demographics. We first find that officers regardless of race have negative, unconscious bias against black people. We also find that officers regardless of their race and gender hold those particular biases. We then find that officers are less respectful of black people and they are particularly less respectful of black women.

So part of what we do is we put virtual reality characters in a setting. We have police officers respond to them. The characters respond to the officers. And then we can actually look at how officers behaviors, the way in which their physiology manifests and then we give a report and recommendations to the departments on how to get better.

WHITFIELD: And then how important is the follow-up then, Rashawn? I spoke with, you know, Police Chief Charles Ramsey about police bias training and he said something that's very critical that isn't seen enough is the follow-up. You can't just have one course and that's it. There has to be some sort of reinforcement. Do you see that happening?

RAY: Without a doubt. I mean, without a doubt. Like our training isn't simply a two-hour one off. Essentially it would take officers two days to get through. And the follow-up is just as important as officers going through.

We are researchers so we bring data and evidence to bare to highlight what departments need to do to move forward. But this is the thing. These implicit bias trainings as useful as they are, they fall short of police reform without transforming the structure of policing. And I think in order to do that, we need to hold officers accountable, and the way we do that is by restructuring civilian payoffs for police misconduct away from taxpayer money into police department insurance policies.

WHITFIELD: Renee, do you see that that would make a big impact, too?

MITCHEL: Well, I was going to say, all of these are like untested solutions. And what I really see out in the field is the one thing when we talk about like unconscious bias is the fact that you're looking at things at an individual level and your data does not show bias until you aggregate data. For example, the medical field they recently came out and showed that doctors over prescribe opioid medications towards Caucasians and under prescribe them for African- Americans. As an individual medical doctor, you're not going to see that data.

You only understand the bias coming out once the data has been aggregated. So the implicit bias training is focused on the individual rather than the aggregate. And to me the easiest way of policing your organization, your police organization, is to look at how your officers are going out into the field.

This is probably something that the American public doesn't really know is police officers are a little bit like independent contractors. Between their calls for service, they are free to make stops, traffic stops, pedestrian stops, business checks, or whatever they want. And there are systems that we have that police agencies could actually aggregate that data, look at where their officers are policing, why they're policing in those areas and actually RTI International, the nonprofit research institute I work for, we have a Calls for Service Analytic software that does just that.

And if you overlie that data with socioeconomic census data, and then apply a social harm index, you could actually determine like when your officers are overpolicing, who they are overpolicing, and make adjustments to the field. But that's at an organizational level. And I think the only way to truly get to police reform is you have to have it at the leadership level, managing what the officers do in the field rather than just saying, here we're going to give you some training and please do better next time.

WHITFIELD: Yes. I've heard that a lot. You know, leadership, top down.

Rashawn Ray, Renee Mitchel, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

MITCHEL: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, how implicit bias too often undermines the ability of getting a job, fair pay and obtaining the American dream of homeownership.


We'll discuss why this persists and how to combat it.



One of those realities is the income gap in this country. Serious disparities persist. In fact a black American family is no closer to earning the same as a white American family than was the case nearly 50 years ago. According to analysis of a Federal Reserve Consumer Finance survey, the median income of a white family in 1968 was just over $49,000. As of 2016, for a white family, that rose to more than $58,000.

Meanwhile, a black family living in the United States saw this. In 1968 the median income was nearly $26,000. Already 47 percent less than white counterparts. Black families then experienced a bump to just over $33,000 in 2016. A $7,000 increase over a 48-year span. But remember the disparity from the start.

That 2016 median income for blacks is not only less than whites. It's still 32 percent less than white median income from 1968.


Earlier I spoke with John Hope Bryant, the founder of Operation Hope and the author of the book, "Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear Based World." He says tackling unconscious bias is the civil rights fight because it impacts everything from getting a job to access to the market.


JOHN HOPE BRYANT, FOUNDER, OPERATION HOPE: In many ways, Dr. King and our heroes who passed on, C.T. Vivian and John Lewis, our hero Ambassador Young, Coretta Scott King and others, they was successful in impacting the hard biases. You can't go to this water fountain. You can go on that building. I mean, Dr. King basically gave his life to take down a whites only sign.

But that was a movement in the streets that we call civil rights. Social justice and civil liberties. The new movement, I think, is in the suites. And I call that silver rights. And that's about class and poverty, and wealth and opportunity. Much harder to put a box in, but the good news is the private sector where 90 percent of our jobs come from and where all wealth comes from, that's the new battlefield. And I think that they are inclined to want to help because it's ultimately in their enlightened self-interest. But it's a big deal.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's a really big deal. And as it pertains to unconscious bias, in what ways, you know, does it contribute to the wealth gap between blacks and whites?

BRYANT: The whole ball game, but it started with an uneven playing field. You go back 400 years ago, you had the first sin of this nation, which was not so much slavery, although that was morally and ethically and humanely corrupt and horrible, but the promise of this nation is you work hard with these. And you get the benefit of your labor. That's -- the freedom. Self-determination. Everybody believes that. Republicans, Democrats, blacks, white, rich, poor.

But here's the deal. My ancestors and yours came to America as agricultural geniuses from Africa to work on this soil in the south. And the harder we worked for 300 years, the bigger the house the big man got up the road. So the Caucasian owner of the plantation got what I call a reverse transfer of wealth for 300 years. So that's where you have this imbalance of, you know, black people have 8 percent to percent of the net worth of their white counterparts with the same education and income level.

Because the playing field was unlevel from the beginning and didn't even get levelled until the end of civil rights movement. That's where it began to shift.

WHITFIELD: Do you see a greater commitment where it be from the private sector, from corporate America, from big business to make up for these losses, perhaps because of bias or because of that wealth passed down generation to generation that is lacking particularly in households of color?

BRYANT: I see a huge shift that I have never seen in my entire life. And Ambassador Young, as I've seen in his life, I talked to him about it. But it's not because of some guilt trip primarily or because they want to remove the bias primarily. I think that people want to -- us, this nation to live up to its creed of opportunity for all. But my ultimate belief in change is through enlightened self-interest. That diversity is just simply a business strength.

WHITFIELD: So explain the importance of homeownership, entrepreneurship, how unconscious bias impacts getting a home loan or a business loan.

BRYANT: Yes, so once again, if you're from an underserved neighborhood, there's certain presumptions that might be made about you and your business. You know, let's be blunt about this. If your mother gave you an interesting name, there may be a loan underwriter who makes a presumption about your name and puts you into a box.

You've got to do things that offset that light again. I keep obsessing about it. The credit score. Half of black America has got a credit score of below 620. We don't even know it, but that locks us out of the free enterprise system and makes it easier for somebody who already has bias against you to tell you no.

My mother has a credit score of 854. My mother is not black anymore. She's green. She gets yes to everything she asks for because the computer just sees, you know, math does not have an opinion. The computer just sees somebody who is imminently qualified for whatever she wants. But that has to be intentional.

WHITFIELD: Do you see that we are closer to fixing the problems that come with biases?

BRYANT: Yes, but again, not for obvious reasons. Not because people are becoming nicer. I think, one, the world just saw a public lynching with George Floyd. They had never seen that before. This generation had never seen that before. It was inexcusable. So I think black people, white people, rich, poor, Republicans and Democrats, everybody who is reasonable said that's not the country I want to live in anymore.


And so then the coronavirus has gotten us all on pause. So everybody is watching your show and they're reflecting or doing this thinking thing that no one ever does anymore. It's like God doesn't have a sense of humor. He just stopped everything and then gave us a moment to reset. And I think that the other thing is that the market is changing. You have a diversity that's driving the economy.

WHITFIELD: It's in the name, Hope. John Hope Bryant.

BRYANT: It's in the name.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.

BRYANT: God bless you.

WHITFIELD: Following the death of Brianna Taylor and George Floyd, more elite athletes have become outspoken pledging their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Prominent sports figures rallying for change. It's not new, it's been going on for decades. But today outspoken athletes are rapidly influencing change in many arenas and organizations.

Coming up we'll hear from U.S. Olympian John Carlos on what has changed since he put a fist in the air on the medal podium more than 50 years ago.


WHITFIELD: In the midst of this ongoing conversation about race in America, professional athletes are placing themselves at the forefront of the fight for change. NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace stepped into the center of the conversation when he painted Black Lives Matter on his car following the death of George Floyd and called on NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag from all of its events.


Several WNBA players have decided to sit out this season deciding instead to focus on social justice reform. And of course there's former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who drew international attention and criticism when he began sitting and kneeling during the national anthem at football games.

Their actions may be fresh in our minds, but athletes have been rallying for change for decades. Sometimes at the expense of their careers. Mohammed Ali's refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in 1967 made him one of the most recognizable sports figures in the world. And who can forget this iconic image, Olympians Tommy Smith and John Carlos holding up black gloved fists on the podium at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. The fallout from that act of defiance was immediate. The men were kicked off the Team USA and sent home.

I'm joined now by John Carlos as well as Hall of Game broadcaster and CNN contributor Bob Costas.

Good to see both of you, gentlemen.

JOHN CARLOS, 1968 OLYMPIC MEDALIST: Great to be with you.


WHITFIELD: So, John, are you thinking any differently than the young man who was standing on that podium with your fist in the air? Are you seeing this national reckoning any differently? Does it make you think any differently today? CARLOS: Well, you know, we have a great accomplishment to try and

bring about systemic racism isn't a disease. It's running rampant not just here in the United States but worldwide. And I had a vision 52 years ago to bring attention to the plight of people of color in the United States. I have seen other countries around the world where it might have been a difference as well in terms of how black people are perceived in the United States.

So as a young individual we thought that it was time to put this in the public's eye for the public to be aware and to raise their voices. Maybe our projection was a little wrong because maybe 52 years ago society wasn't ready to jive as a system relative to racism. But like I said 52 years ago, you think John Carlos is bad based on his actions, his vision, and wait for the next generation.

Well, Mr. Kaepernick is here now and he received the same type of hate mail, the same type of statements, you're pushing too fast, give us time, your day is coming. The same rhetoric that Jack Johnson had to deal with, or the same rhetoric that Muhammad Ali had to seal with, or any professional athlete of color that felt like, hey, man, I might be raised up as an athlete. But God forbid what happens to my son and my daughter because they don't have that tattoo on their brain or their forehead to establish that they are the son of Magic Johnson or the son of Bill Russell, you might say.



WHITFIELD: If today for athletes who take a stand, is the calculous different?

COSTAS: I think it's very much different. Colin Kaepernick paid a price, but he also received a settlement from the National Football League. The National Football League has reversed field. I'm not absolving them of guilt, but they have reversed field. He has his situation with Nike. And Colin, although we can all agree that he called attention to a vital issue and an ongoing issue and an issue that has historical echoes, that's why it resonates so much.

But when you read what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar continues to say and to write so forcefully now, and Muhammad Ali was a compelling figure of global influence. Colin Kaepernick has called attention to a legitimate issue. But when you wear socks that depict cops, not bad cops, but all cops as pigs, when you praise Fidel Castro when you're in Miami, and then when you go largely radio silent, although he's done good things in the community, he's raised and donated money, I give him full credit for that, but he hasn't -- given the notoriety he received he has not used that platform nearly as effectively as he might have.

WHITFIELD: Does this mean this elevated power of today's athlete means, perhaps, that history won't repeat itself?

COSTAS: Well, first of all, however imperfectly and however haltingly athletes, for the most part black athletes, but some white through the years, I think the Billie Jean King and in a different way Aly Raisman today or Megan Rapinoe, whether you agree with everything she says or not, they have been out there and they've made an impact. But you go all the way back to Jack Johnson or to Joe Lewis and of course Jackie Robinson and then Muhammad Ali and Smith and Carlos and Arthur Rash and Kareem, Kim Brown and Bill Russell, they all made a positive contribution.


And when you hear people say, people of a certain bent say stick to sports, what that really means is stick to sports if you're saying something I disagree with. The truth of the matter is that because sports cuts across so many demographics and because it is essentially a meritocracy, so it's hard to deny excellence and merit, I think that sports figures over the year it's not a panacea, but over the years they've had a positive effect of racial understanding and racial progress in this country. And now we have a new chapter in it.

WHITFIELD: And John, do you believe this new chapter of athletes being raised to such prominence by being outspoken, do you believe this new chapter is one that's here to stay?

CARLOS: Everyone is aware. Let's say more people are aware of racism in America than probably in the history of this country. But the question is, where we go from here? Do we sit back and say, well, we should overcome, we sit back and say black lives matter or do we sit down at the roundtable with the powers to be and say we need to challenge the educational system. We need to challenge the law enforcement.

We need to challenge so many systemic areas in this nation that dealt with racism, so we have to come together in terms of let's sit down at the table, white, black and what have you, and put our heads together and figure out how we can solve this equation.

WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much, gentlemen. John Carlos, Bob Costas, always great to see you. An honor to talk to you.

CARLOS: Thank you, Fredricka.

COSTAS: Thanks, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Thank you.

The stressors of bias, well, it adds up and it takes away years from daily bias related snubs, indignities, unequal pay, denied job or bank applications. Even the worry of being pulled over by police. All of that constant stress impacts health.

Coming up, we'll explain how being black could mean a shorter life.


[20:50:50] WHITFIELD: Stress is a killer. So when we talk about all of the effects of unconscious bias, a toll is taken both mentally and physically. Every day discrimination in housing, employment, income, education, it all adds up. All chipping away at quality of life, contributing to chronic diseases and ultimately reduces life expectancy in people of color. And it's not just daily stressors like someone closing the elevator door on you because you're black or refusing you a cab ride for the same reason.

Indignities may be experienced in the medical care you receive or don't receive if you are black, brown and sick. Studies show minorities receive fewer procedures than white individuals and black patients are often prescribed less pain medication than white patients with the same complaints.

Dr. Uche Blackstock joining me right now. She is an emergency medicine physician and the founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity.

Good to see you, Doctor. So why is this still happening that black patients with the same symptoms as white patients would receive less care?

DR. UCHE BLACKSTOCK, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: So, you know, to be honest, it's still happening because the people who are taking care of these patients, physicians like me, are socialized in a society that's embedded with racism. And so when you look at conditions and you look at the levels of explicit and implicit bias, it's the same as that of the general population. And so to expect that physicians or nurses would have less implicit bias than other people, you know, it's just simply not the case.

And so, you know, we see from the data and some of the data that you just mentioned that we're seeing these inequities in how black and other people of color are cared for, and the fact is that you can't deny the data. We have the data that's there and we need to ensure that physicians and other health care professionals are providing equitable care to all patients.

WHITFIELD: I think that's so surprising to a lot of people because they figure the vocation, the profession in and of itself is about care. So, you know, do doctors that you've spoken to actually acknowledge that they're influenced by their biases when it's brought to their attention?

BLACKSTOCK: So I do a lot of these conversations and trainings with physicians. I will say that they probably are the most challenging bunch to discuss these issues with. I think, you know, just like you're alluding to, you know, they think that they are good people. Right? And so the fact is that they are good as people that works in progress. And, you know, they're influenced by what their parents say, what they hear in the media, what they learn in school. And, you know, the fact is that, you know, we have these negative stereotypes of black people that are everywhere because we have a society that is racist. And so these thoughts are internalized and unfortunately, it influences how these physicians communicate and make decision about their patients' care. WHITFIELD: Wow. So what do you see as the key socioeconomic factors

impacting health disparities between blacks and whites and how it ultimately just might shorten lives?

BLACKSTOCK: Right. And so I think it's a lot of what you discussed earlier in the segment. We know that there are social determinants of health like housing, employment, education, access to health care, access to healthy foods. And we know that racism is a key driving force of those social determinants of health. And so we don't just have to work on the kind of care that's delivered to black and brown people.

But we also have to work on ensuring that these communities are well resourced. That people can find gainful employment, affordable housing and have opportunities for homeownership. That's how we actually can make a difference in these health outcomes.

WHITFIELD: Yes. It's always so fascinating to see that, you know, these are things that contribute to these kinds of health disparities, too.


WHITFIELD: Like diabetes, you know, high blood pressure, heart disease, things that are ultimately killers.

Doctor Uche Blackstock, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

BLACKSTOCK: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And if you have any questions about race and unconscious bias and you want answers, visit our interactive Web site at And we'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: On the eve of the late Congressman John Lewis to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol rotunda in D.C., we must be moved to do more than ever to continue on the course that he helped chart. Never give up, Lewis would say, in the ongoing fight to bring equality in justice, economics, health and overall welfare for everyone.

You saw from this hour there are still so much work to do. And in the last few months, two evils, COVID-19 and racism, have only demonstrated how much more virulent and vicious than many would believe to be. This pandemic doesn't discriminate. But partly because of persistent disparities, the mortality rate for blacks is twice that of others. And we just heard bias-related factors from disproportionately low pay, limited access to health care or housing can be changed with concerted willingness.

So this evening, 100 days out from Election Day, we salute Congressman John Lewis for all his legislative accomplishments and for taking a near-death beating in Selma 55 years ago for all to vote. His last appearance on the Pettus Bridge this year he said, vote like you've never done before with echoes of his refrain. Do something.

Perhaps the best way to say thanks to Congressman Lewis would be for all of us to do something.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for being us.