When I’m tuckered out I am SO bad at not being racist… I do that thing where I get people of the same race/gender/height/bodyshape/hair color mixed up with each other.
And then I do that embarrassed white woman thing where I turn bright red, make up excuses, then keep apologizing way after the time that it’s appropriate to be apologizing. I understand that just makes it worse, but I cannot stop!
Most of the people I know are polite about it. Except this one prominent economist who I keep getting mixed up with the same guy, usually late at night the same day of the same conference… he thinks it’s hilarious and now makes a point of asking me who I think he is (I haven’t gotten it right yet, mainly because I know the other guy by name because he works in my field but I’ve actually seen the other guy more often). I deserve that, though I can’t remember his name right now (whereas I can remember the other guy’s name…).
And I could make excuses that I’m pretty bad with whites too (which is true– I mostly identify people by their height and hair color), but it’s far worse with non-whites. I’m terrible with names. I’m terrible with faces (but not terrible enough to believe I have that medical thingy where you can’t recognize faces… I do recognize faces of people I know).
And I know it’s not just me. I know there’s tons of research showing that when we’re tired or have too much cognitive load one of the first things to go is correcting for implicit biases. But it’s still pretty excrementy of me.
All of this is to say, I wish I were either less implicitly racist or I were always less tired!!!!!
(And yes, I know that some people are going to say that this post is just making things worse because it makes the problem all about me. You know, like white women do. [Because nobody ever says that about white men; they always get credit for just trying.] But at that point I throw up my arms and say, “I think I am going to ignore that and take a nap.”)