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Nate Boyer does not consider himself an overt racist.

The former Green Beret, who tried to be a long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks and then advised former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel rather than sit during the national anthem, grew up in East Bay and said in This week’s NBC Sports episode “Race In America: A Candid Conversation” from the Bay Area that has always had a diverse group of friends.

But Boyer added that, as a white man in the United States, racist thinking is “rooted” in him. Before Tiger Woods rose to fame as golf’s first black superstar, Boyer said his instinct as a white man would have been to question why someone who looked like Woods was on the field in the first place.

“I could say, ‘Oh, you know, it must be an athlete’ or” He was invited by someone. There’s no way I’m going to be a member. “” Boyer told Logan Murdock, Monte Poole and former Raiders star Charles Woodson in an episode airing Friday at 5 pm PT. “And it’s horrible to feel that or think that. But that’s like an initial answer, just a rooted answer before thinking. Just like if I see … a white teenager driving a nice car, [then] I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, his parents bought him that car.’ I see a teenager, a black teenager, driving a nice Mercedes, one of my initial answers or thought would be like, ‘I wonder how he got that.’ And that’s disgusting. “


Countless studies have shown that implicit bias, or what the Ohio State University Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity defines as “attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions unconsciously,” is widespread. among humans. Jenée Desmond-Harris, writing for Vox in 2016, summarized that implicit bias tends to reflect society at large and said that “among other things, there is a widespread preference for light skin over dark skin and white on black” in the U.S .

Americans across the country are grappling with examinations of institutional racism in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody last month, and confronting implicit bias is a critical part of the broader conversation stemming from the protests that have occurred since then. That is, at least in part, the reason why prominent black athletes like Evander Kane and Richard Sherman have called on their white peers to speak out against racism.

“I am impressed with the white QBs who speak because those are voices that carry a different weight than black voices for some people,” Sherman said earlier this month of white quarterbacks who made public statements after Floyd’s death. “Which means that people who refuse to listen to a black athlete’s perspective will hear the same from a white athlete, but they will get the message very differently.”

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Research has shown the effects that implicit bias can have, for example, on education, housing, medicine and the police, to name just a few areas of everyday life. As a result, Boyer said it is important for whites to face their own biases.

“[That’s] what we have to keep attacking, “Boyer continued.” Because that is the ugliness that will keep you going through these generations if we don’t find creative ways to change that (thought), do you know what I mean? And it is in all areas. “