Racism is a Hydra – The Monster is in Us

By: Rowzat Shipchandler, racial equity manager at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners.

This is the third in a series of posts by Rowzat exploring the metaphor of racism as a multi-headed monster or a hydra.

A hydra is one of my most often-used racism metaphors. In previous Facing Race e-newsletter articles, Racism is a Hydra and One of the Hydra’s Heads – Subtle Discrimination, I used the hydra—a multi-headed monster from mythology—to describe the monster of racism. While some manifestations of racism are visible, others, like some of the heads of the hydra, lurk in less obvious but still dangerous places.

One of these less visible but insidious manifestations of racism is revealed through research compiled by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. The research shows that our brains—without conscious prompting—react differently to different races. The conclusion is scary: the monster of racism is inside of us.