What Racist Minds and Lizard Brains Have in Common

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[Editor's Note: Hardly anyone admits to being a racist. So why is it that we see the effects of racism -- from "harmless jokes" to brazenly discriminatory practices -- still? One theory is that racism stems from fear, which is primally hardwired into a certain part of our brain. Hollye Dexter of Truth and Consequences explains the connection between lizard brain and discrimination... and offers some advice about how we can re-wire this thought pattern. --Grace]

Let me explain what I mean by lizard brain. The basal ganglia, termed “the Reptilian Complex” by American neuroscientist Paul Mc Lean, is the most base and simplistic part of our brain. This structure is shared by reptiles and birds, and was probably all we had before we evolved. Mc Lean theorized it was “responsible for species typical instinctual behaviors involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays”. We are all capable of operating from this lowest functioning part of our brains. We are also capable of functioning higher.

Closeup of young iguana, Shutterstock


Read more from Lizard Brain Strikes Again at Truth and Consequences

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