It is not news that our reactive brains respond in predictable ways to those we see as different from us. Those ways are not the same as how we respond to members of our in-groups. You can read about some of that research in this excerpt (AlterNet) from Are We Born Racist?: New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology.
Unfortunately the role that self-awareness, attention, mindfulness, can play in facilitating a person's being more reflective, less reactive, when interacting with those different from him or her is not mentioned. With training in self-awareness, attention, mindfulness, we do not need to be slaves to our brains.
As we have often pointed out here, there are those in the science community who do think we are clueless, helpless, hapless slaves. From "Missing Persons" (The Catholic Thing):
Many scientists have for some time denied the old view of what really distinguishes human beings: that we have the ability to know the truth and the freedom to choose right and wrong. It’s odd that modern science – which has given us so much knowledge about the world and useful technologies in medicine and other fields – should deny our ability to know and will. But no small segment of modern scientists regard the human capacity for knowing not, as in the past, as a kind of miracle, something of a different order than everything else we observe in the universe. For them, human knowledge is merely a kind of higher evolutionary reaction to stimuli. Indeed, if you look at the statements of some neuroscientists, they have started to call it a “folk view” that we know things and can act freely. For them, it’s determinism all the way down. We dummies – the non-neuroscientists – just don’t know it yet.
What we each think about determinism and reductionism, whether or not we think we can override our brain to be in alignment with our values, is important. It affects how we see the rights and responsibilties of our clients, and more important, what, in our own behavior, we believe we can and cannot change. Even if we are born racist, I believe we have the power to overcome reactive responses. Do you?
Sure, our brains may react and act up in ways that our reflective mind may find upsetting, even horrifying. Through self-awarensss and attention training, by increasing mindfulness skills, our reflective minds can steer. Remember: "The brain puts out the call, the mind decides whether to listen."