Thursday, May 1, 2008

Scientific proof: Everybody's a racist

Greetings, my fellow haters:
Using a variety of sophisticated methods, psychologists have established that people unwittingly hold an astounding assortment of stereotypical beliefs and attitudes about social groups: black and white, female and male, elderly and young, gay and straight, fat and thin. Although these implicit biases inhabit us all, we vary in the particulars, depending on our own group membership, our conscious desire to avoid bias and the contours of our everyday environments.
(Via Hot Air Headlines.) After extensive examination of "subliminal bias," the article then goes on to discuss PC re-education schemes:
Seeing targeted groups in more favorable social contexts can help thwart biased attitudes. In laboratory studies, seeing a black face with a church as a background, instead of a dilapidated street corner, considering familiar examples of admired blacks such as actor Denzel Washington and athlete Michael Jordan, and reading about Arab-Muslims’ positive contributions to society all weaken people’s implicit racial and ethnic biases. In real college classrooms, students taking a course on prejudice reduction who had a black professor showed greater reductions in both implicit and explicit prejudice at the end of the semester than did those who had a white professor.
Notice that -- having initially laid out the fact of latent prejudice against "social groups . . . elderly and young, fat and thin" -- the article then focuses almost obsessively on race, and especially white prejudice against non-white minorities.

Some prejudices are more equal than others. (And prejudice against chubby beauty queens is apparently too inconsequential to deserve more than a passing reference from Scientific American.)

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