Silence, like racism, is pretty terrible for Democracy

Dr. Gregg Murray

Ever opted-out of doing something because you were scared of what someone else might think? If so, you’re not alone, especially when it comes to decisions seemingly based on race.

Dr. Gregg Murray, professor of Political Science, in the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, explores the issue of Racial Paralysis in his latest blog for Psychology Today. Racial Paralysis, he says, is the term for some people’s tendency to “opt-out” of decisions seemingly based on race, such as where to sit in a restaurant or who to say performed better at a task. The problem goes well beyond social stigma, however.

“In the political realm, when might someone think about “opting out” of a discussion?” Murray said. “How about when asked about immigration when popular narratives are that you’re a cold-hearted racist if you oppose more immigration or that you’re flouting the rule of law for political purposes if you support more immigration?”

Are you racially paralyzed? Read more to find out why speaking up may be in your, and democracy’s, best interest.

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Nick Garrett

Nick Garrett is a communications coordinator in the Division of Communications & Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him at 706-446-4802 or

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Written by Nick Garrett

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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