It's important to remember that implicit biases are out there, absolutely: but I think that that's only half the story. With broader changes in the society at large people can also become more willing to reach across racial boundaries, and that goes for both minorities and whites.
Linda R. Trop, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, referring to studies that suggest "mutual trust between members of different races can catch on just as quickly, and spread just as fast, as suspicion," in this morning's New York Times.
The piece recounts recent psychological research that shows how negative hidden biases and prejudices can be postively influenced by relationship and trust building exercises, and suggests that Barack Obama's presidency may influence our culture at large, over time, in remarkable ways.
We stopped for dinner before we headed down to Grant Park on Tuesday night. The restaurant was sparsely populated and hushed; most eyes were on the big screen TV that they'd set up in the bar so that folks could watch the election returns. They had just started coming in and McCain was ahead. We told our waiter we were in a little bit of a rush; he asked if we were going to the rally and quietly said "cool", his eyes shining.
Mid-way through our meal a new table was seated -- five young well-dressed white folk. Quite loud. Complaining how hushed and empty the restaurant was. One of them asked our waiter (their waiter too) if he had voted (he had) and then, laughing at his own joke, asked: "Did you do the right thing, or the white thing?"
When the wine came the ringleader toasted to their "dear old friend, Tom Bradley," of the Bradley Effect. The girls tittered. The table was hopeful the election would go their way.
It did not.