Are you a racist?: Now there’s a test!

When I saw this story on ABC News I was a bit…underwhelmed.  Um…if you are racist, you know that you are.  You might not care.  Your racist nature may not figure into your day to day life.  However, when you encounter a person against whom you hold bias simply because of their race…you will inherently think, act, and be racist.  If you aren’t racist…you won’t.

Tell someone that he’s sexist, ageist or racist nowadays and it’s easy to get a red-faced defensive reaction. In modern times, men and women of all backgrounds would rather believe themselves to be benevolent egalitarians.

Yet, while few want to be known as a bigot, millions of people seem to wonder, “am I?” — and going to the Project Implicit Web site to find out.  www.implicit.harvard.edu

Started as a research tool at Yale in 1995, Project Implicit now has 11 million tests completed, and 20,000 new tests taken each week by Web surfers curious about their possible unconscious biases.

Participants are instructed to assign a class of attributes — such as smart, lazy or failure — to a single group of people — such as women, Christians, or Americans — with one or two keystrokes as fast as they can. The point is to measure the first reaction, not the self-edited one.
- ABC News Online

Guess who know’s for sure is you’re a racist?  Just you, and you alone.  No matter what you say out of your mouth, in public, or how you are other wise “PC”.  Between you and your God (or non-deity of choice)…you know the truth.

That’s why people don’t like the “race card”.  No one who is racist and is not comfortable with being publicly outed as a hate monger is going to be happy about getting the race care pulled on them.  There are a lot of proud, card carrying racists who have no problem letting you know who they hate.  On the other side, those who are not racists do not want to be labeled either.  Think of any negative label that you don’t identify yourself with and then think of how offended you would by someone giving you that label publicly.  Not cute, huh.

Sigh, all things considered it’s not cut and dry.  Do I think that some people are indoctrinated and taught to hate?  Yes.   Do I think you can call whole classes and groups of people racists based on history and institutionalized racism?  Honestly…I’m on the fence about that sometimes.  Fox News doesn’t help.  Opps…did I just imply some racism.  My bad.  I’ve had good teachers.

8 Comments

Filed under culture, hate, news, opinion, race, racism

8 Responses to Are you a racist?: Now there’s a test!

  1. I wonder if most of us aren’t tainted with at least a smidge of prejudice, despite our best intentions to the contrary.

    If you see a greasy-haired guy slouching down the street in disheveled clothes, you might think, “druggie” or “bum.”

    If you see a massively obese person, you might sneer to yourself, “there’s someone who has no self-control,” not giving them the benefit of the doubt that there might be something medically or psychologically wrong with them.

    My parents raised us to believe that racism was even more evil than murder or premarital sex (and we’re Catholics, so that last one is a Big Deal). But my mom was still a little miffed at the Japanese because of Pearl Harbor (then again, one of her best friends and seat mate in her amateur orchestra was Japanese, so …).

    I think there might be some small encysted nugget of prejudice in all of us that we have to keep working at to eradicate. Some people say it’s in our genes — we identify with the group and reject “the other” as a survival mechanism. Some people say it’s all in how you’re raised, or in what kind of society you grow up in.

    My brother is a racist. He’s also a sociopath, so he’s a danger to all humanity, no matter what the color of the person, but he especially hates black people. He claims that in his 20s, he was mugged once by a black guy, and that’s when he “turned” racist. (His attitude horrified and dismayed my parents, BTW. They wondered where they’d gone wrong, but I personally think my dear old bro was born without a conscience. Sort of like Ted Bundy, but without all the bodies in the hills. And after putting up with 40+ years of his mind-rape of me, I ejected him from my life. Haven’t seen him since dad’s funeral in 2001, and I can’t say I miss him. I wish him well, but his head games aren’t welcome in my life anymore.)

    Well, his mugging story is about as lame as the story told about Hitler — supposedly, right after he got rejected from art school, the first dude he walked into out on the sidewalk was a Jew, and Hitler “suddenly” realized how repellent and evil Jewish people were, because the Jewish guy he saw so “obviously” had the stamp of criminal cunning on his face. Sweet as Light Adolph was hit by a revelation, sort of Saul on the road to Tarsus, and was given the gift of bigotry that would light his path as he delivered the German people from all those pesky subhumans that were limiting their Lebensraum.

    Oh, bulls**t. My brother and Hitler hated certain people because they CHOSE to hate them. They could have stopped themselves. They could have chosen to reexamine their beliefs in the light of reason, and seen them for the false and empty illogical idiocies they were. But they LIKED having someone to hate. Made ‘em feel superior.

    But even for those of us who know that bigotry is wrong, unjust, unfair, and illogical, I think prejudice remains like a cancerous growth. If you let even one cell of it survive, it’ll start to multiply and mutate until it takes you over. I’m not sure many of us can claim we’re 100% free of it. But we can sure do our best to remain in remission.

  2. TheSubstance

    Ok so you take the test and the results say that you are a racist…I don’t think many people will be shocked by their results. I wonder what is done with the data gathered from this research? It would be interesting to know if and how it’s used. Here in the south racist, sexist, good ole boyism is alive and kickin. I moved here a couple years ago and I’m still amazed at how blatant it is.

  3. It’s interesting when prejudice and discrimination is directed toward women, it’s sexist….toward a given race it’s racist….toward the elderly it’s ageist…toward the poor it’s classist. Yet, all these ‘ists have something in common…that’s right, prejudice and discrimination. Humans are naturally prejudicial and unfortunately discrimination is just the associated behavior. However, I don’t know if I can hold racism higher than the others. And I say this as a black man.

    I agree with ClaireTinBuffalo, we all have a tinge of prejudice. I guess it’s those that take prejudice to the extreme is why it’s necessary for me to keep my pistol close.

    TheSubstance…I feel you. I’m originally from NYC. But I’ve been in the Carolinas for nearly 30 years. These are some extreme ‘ists folks! The SC county I used to live in actually had an all-white pool up to 1993ish. Yeah.

  4. Ian

    I took three of the tests – white faces vs. African faces, Arab/Muslim names vs. others, and darker skin vs. light skin. Turns out I respond most positively to the types of people I grew up around – dark-skinned people with “white”, not African features and Arab/Muslim names. In other words – the people I grew up around (predominantly Indians, many of them Muslims or with Muslim roots – and thus, Muslim surnames).

    Obviously, if you believe yourself to be without prejudice those tests might shock you. But it’s far healthier, I believe, to accept that you’re most comfortable with what’s familiar, and make sure that you treat people equally, regardless of your instinctive reactions.

  5. Jason Dick

    I strongly disagree that racists generally know that they are racist. How many times have you heard, “I’m not a racist, but…”? I tend to think that those people are being entirely sincere. They’re typically flat wrong about themselves, but then introspection is something that entirely too many people seem to lack.

    Never underestimate the human capacity for self deception.

  6. TheSubstance

    Jason Dick – I considered your comment and I agree. I remember a woman that I worked with years ago. Her live-in boyfriend and his buddies used to go out on the weekends, after dark, and shoot (yeah…real bullets) at black people that they saw driving down any of the roads in Suffolk. The intent was scare, not kill, but the bullets don’t know that. They called it having a “Monkey Party”. She declared that she was not prejudiced, and got hot with me when I questioned how she could live with him and not be. Perfect example of self deception.

    I worked at one time in a book store owned by a Muslim (African-American), and various groups would use the two conference rooms on Saturdays for workshops and classes. One class that I listened in on, taught that racism only has strength when it is practiced by a group that has power over another group. They described racism as using prejudice to decide the fate of those who are powerless, or less powerful, controlling their income, access to housing, education, etc. The group being controlled then reacts with negative feelings towards the group in control. Just throwing this out there, to get some opinions on this philosophy.

  7. TheSubstance — I had to read your post about 10 times, because I was so boggled by the … the … I don’t have a word for it — the ATTITUDE of your former coworker with the boyfriend with the rifle.

    She REALLY had no problem with him loading up a gun and firing in the general direction of HUMAN BEINGS? WHATEVER their color?

    Did the people who got shot at report the incidents? Or was racism so bad in that area that the experience of getting shot at in the dark was regarded as part of the cost of doing business, as it were?

    Did YOU call the cops and say that they should talk to the white trash skank at your workplace about her boyfriend’s extracurricular activities?

    I’m just boggled. If some louts with guns were caught shooting at house cats, even if they weren’t trying to hit them, the public would raise a hue and cry about animal cruelty.

    The boyfriend’s behavior … just beyond the pale. And the girlfriend’s lack of horror and disgust over his behavior … incomprehensible.

  8. TheSubstance

    ClaireTinBuffalo – Yes it was reported, by victims, and by myself. The rumor was that some of his weekend buddies worked in the Sheriffs Dept in Suffolk.If you get a chance, read some of the history of Suffolk VA. Breeding ground for good old southern style hatred. I left that job,but heard that when things started to get hot for them, they stopped for awhile. I am certain of one thing, they found other ways to scare and humiliate. He was also abusive to her. I believe that hatred at that level spills over into everything in a persons life. Its like drinking poison and expecting the other person or people to die.

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