Yvette Carnell: What Black People Have in Common With Pavlov’s Drooling Dogs

Yvette Carnell: What Black People Have in Common With Pavlov’s Drooling Dogs

Yvette Carnell: What Black People Have in Common With Pavlov’s Drooling Dogs

Pavolov was a scientist who studied physiology, and this was Pavlov’s experiment:

Pavlov became interested in studying reflexes when he saw that the dogs drooled without the proper stimulus. Although no food was in sight, their saliva still dribbled. It turned out that the dogs were reacting to lab coats. Every time the dogs were served food, the person who served the food was wearing a lab coat. Therefore, the dogs reacted as if food was on its way whenever they saw a lab coat.

In a series of experiments, Pavlov then tried to figure out how these phenomena were linked. For example, he struck a bell when the dogs were fed. If the bell was sounded in close association with their meal, the dogs learnt to associate the sound of the bell with food.

Black people react to racism, or the mere suggestion of racism, the same way Pavlov’s dogs reacted to lab coats and bells. It is a learned response to a perceived threat, but it makes us weak prey to people who would much rather have us distracted than engaged. And this reflexiveness is damning us to permanent second class status, especially here in America.

Take for example the highly sensationalized reporting on Ron Paul’s 20 year old racist newsletters.  Republicans didn’t even need to do any heavy lifting to get Ron Paul disqualified based on that inflammatory accusation. Why? When all they needed to do, all they did,  was mention that Paul supposedly wrote racist newsletters two decades ago and, instinctively, black writers went in for the kill, and wasted their time and valuable platforms fighting a battle that wasn’t their own.


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Posted on July 18, 2012, in Commentary, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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