Implicit Bias and Trayvon’s Legacy

By Tara Andrews, Esq.

Tara Andrews, Esq.

Tara Andrews, Esq.

The racial implications of Trayvon Martin’s death and George Zimmerman’s acquittal are undeniable and are commanding a much-needed response. The public debate thus far has focused on overt racism. I contend, however, that overt racism alone didn’t kill Trayvon Martin. Implicit bias was a key accomplice in Trayvon’s death.

Implicit bias is a subtle and more pervasive form of bias that people hold against others simply because they belong to a particular group, defined by race or other immutable factors. As opposed to overt acts of discrimination, implicit bias takes the form of unconscious attitudes and motivations that are deep-rooted, automatic and invisible to the person who holds them. Consequently, people are not even aware that their actions are biased. To them, their actions are rational and justified.

Recap – YWCA NCA “March on Washington 2013″

by YWCA National Capital Area

Saturday, August 24th was truly an event to remember…


50 years ago Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led thousands of supporters in Washington DC in a march that allowed him to give one of the most historic speeches to date… “I Have A Dream.” This speech was a direct call to end racism, injustice and unemployment.


Since 1905 the YWCA National Capital Area has always been at the forefront of advocating for not just women’s rights but for rights of all mankind. Women have been treated as second class for far too long and we are committed to making sure that our voices are heard!

Top Five on Friday

By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA

Today, we’re starting a new weekly tradition on the YWCA USA blog. Each Friday, we’ll post the five most important, need-to-know, must-read stories from around the Web to share with you. These stories are the ones that made us think, that taught us something new, and that reflected how our mission – to eliminate racism and empower women – in current events.

Top Five on Friday

Seneca Falls. (Image by Doug Kerr.)

Seneca Falls. (Image by Doug Kerr.)

Some Things to Remember as We Talk about Race, Identity and Trayvon Martin

By Qudsia Jafree
Senior Policy & Advocacy Associate, Racial Justice and Civil Rights

This week, the U.S. has been involved in an important, nationwide conversation about racial profiling and civil rights. This conversation has involved voices from every side of the political and social spectrum, discussing everything from Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and when/to whom it applies, to what it means to be a black man or woman walking down the street.

Grand Island Urged to Join YWCA’s Stand Against Racism

Anita Lewandowski Brown

In an op-ed in The Grand Island Independent, YWCA Grand Island’s executive director Anita Lewandowski Brown speaks out on the tragic Trayvon Martin shooting and urges the community to answer the call to Stand Against Racism on April 27.

Read more: “Urged to join YWCA’s ‘Stand Against Racism’ effort”


Stand Against Racism logoThis post is part of the YWCA Stand Against Racism blog carnival on issues of race, justice and diversity. We invite you to join the dialogue! Post your comment below, share your story and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #StandAgainstRacism.

Moving Beyond Stereotypes

by Camille Taylor
YWCA McLean County, Illinois

(Blank) are usually good dancers, (Blank) people smell, special classes are for???

If you’re human, you couldn’t help but fill in the blanks with an image or a word that popped into your mind. A stereotype is a popular belief about a specific type of individual based on prior assumptions. When singer Susan Boyle came on the stage of “Britain’s Got Talent,” people snickered, and no one took her seriously until she sang her first note.

Anti-Discrimination Training as a Response to Racism

by Paulette T. Cross, Ph.D.
Transitional Housing Economic Empowerment Specialist, YWCA Salt Lake City

If someone or anyone had responded to the Trayvon Martin incident, perhaps he would still be alive today.  Response methods are critical in doing “social justice” work.  When do you respond?  What do you say?  What if the intervention is wrong?  Or, what constitutes whether or not response or intervention is the right thing to do? To address these types of inquiries, one has to understand the notion of racism and its impact on society in the U.S..  Therefore, it is not only incumbent upon everyone to participate in social justice work, but also it is critical to understand the historical roles of race and racism in the U.S. Once this knowledge is rooted, it inevitably provides a foundation – a way in which ordinary people can begin to participate in the social justice movement for equity and equality for all.

Raising My Awareness about Racism

by Vanessa Wood
YWCA New Hampshire

Vanessa Wood

I write this post from my own perspective, experiences, and observations.  I’m a white woman and I don’t know what it feels like to be a person of color.  I was raised in a very privileged environment; I went to the best schools, had terrific opportunities, and skin color was never a cognizant thought for me.

10 Steps Towards Bridging Our Painful Racial Divide

by Margaret A. Mitchell
President & CEO, YWCA Greater Cleveland

Margaret Mitchell

The year was 1937. My mother and her sisters were playing in the front yard of their Greensborough, North Carolina, home when a speeding delivery truck jumped the soft earthen curb, hitting and killing three-year-old Anita Shoffner. The driver, who was drunk and white, was never charged in the murder of my mother’s sister, who was African American.

We Are George Zimmerman

by Erica Thurman
YWCA McLean County (Ill.)

Erica Thurman

Erica Thurman

“Excuse me young man, are you lost?”

It may have been just that simple. Seven words may have made all the difference in the world to the family of Trayvon Martin. As the nation — and much of the world — looks for answers, it may be more beneficial to focus less on why George Zimmerman acted as he reportedly did and more on how he came to internalize the idea that young, black, male and hoodied equaled suspicious. Any number of isms could have been present (racism, ageism or classism).