Wednesday, November 4, 2009

testing for racism at Project Implicit

Years ago, I did the race test at Project Implicit. I don't remember the result, which is probably significant. So I did it again today. (And was amused to find Project Implicit has its own implicit assumptions. Under politics, you can be "strongly liberal," but you can't be a socialist. Ah, well.)

The result:

Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for African American compared to European American.

To the best of my knowledge, I took the test fairly. But I noticed one thing: when it required me to post bad things and African Americans in the same category, it hurt.

I will have to work on my prejudice against white people.

Then I took their religion test, and left this comment at my Live Journal:
Oh my god! I'm prejudiced against Christianity! I'm prejudiced against white people and Christians!

Actually, this delights me too much, but it really wasn't the result I was expecting.

I got Islam on top, Judaism and Hinduism as equals, and Christianity below that. They were all grouped toward the middle, so I'm not extremely prejudiced against Christianity, but still, this is hard for someone who considers himself a Christian Unitarian Universalist metatheist.
To choose a test there, click Go to the Demonstration Tests.

I've been thinking about Project Implicit's conclusion that I'm a little prejudiced in favor of African Americans and a little against Christians. I expected the reverse, because I had bought into the theory that we're all at least a tiny bit racist in favor of our cultural group. But when another "white" friend was also indicated as favoring African Americans (though she favored Christians), I realized that my assumption was nonsense. Our biases come from our understanding of our culture, not from our culture itself.
Project Implicit also rejects the theory that everyone is racist in favor of their race: "75-80% of self-identified Whites and Asians show an implicit preference for racial White relative to Black."

Saying everyone is racist is nonsense. Saying three-fourths of the population is racist might be accurate.

ETA: Just noticed that I used "nonsense" twice here. I think that was because I hesitated to use "bullshit." Project Implicit's studies strengthen my conviction that ideological anti-racists who insist we're all racist are just trying to rationalize their recognition of their own racism.

ETA 2: I recommend Project Implicit's FAQ, especially questions 8 and 9:

Is the common preference for White over Black in the Black-White attitude IAT a simple 'ingroup' preference?

Do Black participants show a preference for Black over White on the race attitude IAT?

ETA 3: About the participants for Project Implicit:
The participants at Project Implicit form a sample that is generally more diverse than those found in traditional laboratory studies. Below are approximate percentages broken down by gender and ethnicity:

Female: 62%; Male: 38%
American Indian: 1%
Asian: 6.3%
Black/African-American: 6.8%
Hispanic: 5.1%
White/Caucasian: 72%
Multiracial: 4.8%
Other: 3.7%