Kira Hudson Banks

Kira Hudson Banks

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: What comes to mind when you hear the word privilege?

Many people become defensive and want to distance themselves from it. “My life isn’t perfect. I didn’t ask for all this. I don’t feel powerful...”

Privilege is not about deserving, asking or working for something. It just is.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It’s not about a courtroom verdict. It’s about the verdicts delivered the moment a Black man is assumed to being up to no good simply because he is a Black man. Those blatant judgments and high profile examples certainly sting but so does the accumulation of no or slow service, assumptions of inferiority, questioning of integrity, body language of avoidance, or the false compliment of "you're so articulate." It all functions to make clear that little is expected of you -- or your kind -- and that respect is not immediately granted.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Welcome to the final installment of the Racial Baggage Challenge! Hopefully you shed some “weight” and learned something about yourself in the process.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This week builds on and facilitates the expansion of your networks exercise from last week. After doing much personal awareness work and reflecting on the stories we are told about others, we will begin to expand our knowledge of others.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Last week we talked a great deal about stereotypes.

You might be asking yourself, “So what? I think I get it, but what do I do with all this awareness?”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: We’ve spent some time together of the past couple of weeks and have established a few things:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This week, we will focus our lens on culture and our own personal stories. We will reflect on the various cultural groups we belong to and how we have been socialized into our group memberships and the values, traditions and norms that have been transmitted.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Welcome to week two! If you didn't get a chance to participate in week one, you can always revisit  previous challenges throughout this process.

This week we will focus on race as a social construct. That might sound odd if this is the first time you are hearing the term. But, to break it down, it means that race is real yet not real -- biologically, a weak differentiator, yet socially a strong determinant.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Comments during the recent mayoral debate sparked a discussion over how segregated and integrated St. Louis really is. Even before that debate came to the fore, I had been sharing tips and personal stories about how I and those around me are working to make integration real in St. Louis. The Beacon has asked that I bring that effort to its site.

We've all heard about the controversy of Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally, which took place on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech." The analysis has largely been stuck on the question of whether Beck should or should not have held his rally on the landmark date.

To take account of race or to not take account of race, that is the question -- or at least it is in transracial adoption.

The rates of transracial adoption have increased dramatically in the past decades, and research and the law are trying to keep up. From the social research perspective we've learned a few things. Historically, research on transracial adoption found no differences in outcomes for kids adopted across race compared to same-race families.

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling rejecting the argument that lethal injection is inhumane allowed some states to resume executions, but it only addresses a small sliver of the controversy. Justice Stevens went on record stating that the practice of capital punishment might very well be unconstitutional.  

about the author
Kira Hudson Banks, PhD, grew up in Edwardsville and is assistant professor of psychology at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill.