Liam Neeson’s shameful confession sheds light on implicit racial bias

Liam Neeson

NBC NEWS — Liam Neeson is in the hot seat after a UK newspaper published a story that includes his recount of a dark moment in his past.

In the interview, Neeson confessed that nearly 40 years ago, after a woman close to him told him that she had been raped, he had a “primal urge” to seek revenge against any black person regardless of whether or not they had been involved in the crime:

“And after that, there were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in the city, looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence.”

The actor expressed shame, guilt, and even disbelief at his own actions. Hopefully, Neeson’s confession will prop open the doors to a deeper conversation about implicit racial biases and the situations in which these biases tend to bubble to the surface.

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‘White spaces’ are helping white people confront racial biases

NBC NEWS — “White spaces” are popping up around the country, and they aren’t as bad as they sound. These groups of all white adults were created to give white people an opportunity to have candid conversations about identifying white privilege and implicit biases.

The Metro St. Louis chapter of the YWCA is home to several “white space” groups. The chapter’s racial justice director, Mary Ferguson says that the YWCA’s program began in 2011, but interest spiked after Michael Brown was killed by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in 2014.

Ferguson says that more than a dozen groups are set to begin meeting in January:

“It was important to us that we had a group where people of color wouldn’t be on the spot, wouldn’t be asked to teach, wouldn’t be asked to listen to white people as they struggle to understand racism. One of the greatest fears that many of our participants express is the fear that they’re going to offend, that they are going to show their ignorance, that they are going to upset other people and they sense it themselves. One way that we can open up the space for conversation is to make the group all white.”

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Saks Fifth Avenue accused of race and age discrimination in lawsuit

Saks Fifth Avenue

 

NBC NEWS — Eight men, the majority of whom are older and black, say they were subject to age and race discrimination while employed at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, alleging in a lawsuit filed Nov. 20 that they couldn’t advance because of a “glass ceiling” for people of color.

The ex-employees, who are represented by The Cochran Firm, worked at the high-end department store’s flagship location in midtown Manhattan. Some of them were hired back in 2010 and 2011, and were placed in sales in the men’s department with “limited customer traffic and far removed from the department’s front entrance” — putting them at a disadvantage, according to the suit.

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Racism at Fox News starts at top, according to lawsuit

Two black female former employees at Fox News have filed a lawsuit over what they call “top-down racial harassment.” The plaintiffs were payroll managers at Fox News, which is still dealing with sexual harassment lawsuits and scandals. Fox News executives “intentionally turned a blind eye” to racial harassment of black employees, according to the lawsuit. Adam Klasfeld has details in this story from Courthouse News.