You May Be More Racist Than You Think

Soon to be an ex-racist

Are you a racist? While most people don't view themselves as prejudiced, a surprising new study revealed that many unknowingly have racist views:

The authors divided 120 non-black participants into the roles of "experiencers" and "forecasters." The "experiencers" were placed in a room with a white person and a black person, who played out pre-arranged scenarios for the experiment. The scenarios began when the black role-player bumped the white role-player's knee when leaving the room.

In the first scenario, the white person did not comment afterwards. In the "moderate" case, the white person said, "Typical, I hate it when black people do that," after the black person left the room. In the "extreme" case, the white person remarked, "Clumsy n****r."

The "forecasters," meanwhile, predicted how they would feel in these situations.

The magnitude of the results surprised even the authors, Kawakami said. Experiencers reported little distress in all three scenarios, much less than the forecasters did in the moderate and severe situations.

"Even using that most extreme comment didn't lead people to be particularly upset," said co-author Elizabeth Dunn, assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.


Previously on Neatorama: How Racist Are You? Take the test!

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

In case anyone out there is still reading this thread.

(1) It doesn't seem anyone here is able willing to engage my point. I suggested that majority-group racism is not merely the sum total of individual behavior, but a set of institutional and systemic privileges and disadvantages that benefit a majority group to the detriment of a minority group or groups.

It follows that so-called 'black on white' racism cannot be the same thing, because African Americans are simply not in a position to engage in systematic, institutional discrimination against Caucasians. Mere bellowing that you have anecdotal experience of some dude that was mean to you does not address my point in the slightest.

You can either dispute that racism is best understood as an institutionalized, systemic set of privileges or argue that African Americans are in fact engaging in systemic discrimination against European Americans. Neither position strikes me as defensible, but I am willing to hear arguments out.

Once again, this is not about 'individual negative views'. I realize there's a certain (and pernicious) libertarian meme around that there is no such thing as society or systemic biases, only individuals. Perhaps this is our collective dialectic stumbling-block.

(2) For those people who think it is hypocritical to have, e.g., African American campus groups but not 'white' groups on campus, you are making a simple category error. 'White' is not a diaspora nor a cultural group, while 'African American' is.

You *can* absolutely have an Irish campus group or church, or a German one, or a Ukrainian Students Association: no one would even think to begrudge that or call it 'racist'. However, the only relevant, coherent category 'white' is precisely the one used to perpetuate institutional racism, which is why such groups have no place in our societies.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Here's the problem; where's the control group???? Instead of having one white and one black man, did they have a control group where a white man made increasingly disparaging comments about the other white man when he left the room? If they did, what were the results with that group? Maybe the results show that there is an issue, but it's not of a racial nature. It's seems to me to be a stretch to conclude people are more racist than they thought, if the study was only what was written in the article.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
...found a reference to the image on snopes, turns out it was originally a staged photo for a magazine advertising campaign.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Interesting topic.

Bottom line: researchers thrive on proving silly points with unusual but flawed experiments.

What about Arabs and Jews? What about people who hate gays? Maybe it would be easier just to call it intolerance, and try to fix that instead of pointing fingers all the time.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"You May Be More Racist Than You Think"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More