Wednesday, November 4, 2009

more about Project Implicit, plus families hitting the road

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.

Also: In a tough economy, many are trading their houses for RVs and the highway: Play the video. I was wondering if the kids were sincere, until I saw the son speak.

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%


  1. I don't understand your statistics. If it's racist to prefer any race to any other, then that statistic is only a minimum (maybe another 15% have a different racial preference). If if it's racist only when you prefer your own race, that says nothing about racism in Asians. (In any case it says nothing about racism among those who do not self-identify as White or Asian.)

  2. It's not only racism when you favor your race. It's racism when you have a prejudice against any race. 75 to 80% of whites and Asians have an implicit prejudice against blacks. Racism is prejudice against or for any race, regardless of what Critical Race Theorists maintain.

    I have an implicit prejudice against whites, and I'm perfectly comfortable calling that racism. But I would like to point out in my defense that some of my best friends are white.

  3. Antiracists say everyone white is racist because everyone who is white has some degree of automatic privilege over those who are non-white. It has nothing to do with feelings or opinions or recognition of human beings as individuals; it's all based on the color of your skin. This is why antiracists drive me crazy because based on what I was always taught was the definition of racism they are exhibiting it in spades! Although no doubt an antiracist would consider that a racist thing to say

  4. daf9, total agreement that their principle is fundamentally racist, but one quibble: they say racism is "prejudice plus power", so it does include feelings and opinions. It's just jiggered so that only "whites" can be called racist. Everyone loves to rationalize doing exactly what their opponenets do.

  5. I rather like that definition of racism, so far as it goes. What Mary Ann Mohanraj says in your other thread is right on for me:
    "There’s a definite utility and sense to that definition, but it isn’t the one I normally use."
    I don't use that definition socially, since those around me don't share the view of the world it implies, but I do use it when I'm writing. It's part of my understanding of the world: Society is racist. I get some of that on me. When I do, I try to understand it and do something about it.

    Now, what you mean most of the time by "racism", I think of as "bigotry". Racism as I think of it--well, there isn't much of that in my world. Hardly anyone I see has enough power to profit by it when you figure all the costs, but it's bundled with basic cable. What can you do?

  6. 6p00e54f0cd7168834, may I call you 6?

    Checked your profile. John! Howdy!

    Sure, I agree that there are still a lot of living racists, and therefore people of color will face more obstacles. But what does it mean to say a society is racist when you have a popular black president elected not with a plurality, but with a clear majority? When the majority votes in a way that is not racist, is it still appropriate to say the society is racist?

    Now, if Project Implicit is correct, 75% or more of whites and Asians are racist, so maybe it is. But I haven't found a further breakdown of how many only show a slight preference, and if they don't act on their slight preference, are they racist in a meaningful way? There are blacks who have a slight preference for blacks, but when we talk of black bigots, don't we only mean the ones with an extreme preference for blacks?

    Full agreement that the classic definition of racism is racial bigotry. I think that so long as racial bigotry exists, it's useful to have a short, two-syllable word to cover that.

  7. John, in the hope of clarifying what may seem to be a contradiction: wealth is racially disproportionate in the US, which could justify saying we live in a racist society, but I think that's just living in a capitalist society. Here's something I asked Tempest Bradford, which she couldn't answer:

    "For years, I wrestled with whether Malcolm X was right when he said you can't have capitalism without racism. Clearly, liberals and conservatives are working desperately to create capitalism without racism. But I've finally come to see that Malcolm X was right: if you don't redistribute wealth, the distribution of wealth will be racially disproportionate. If you do redistribute wealth, capitalism ends. It's a Catch-22 that anti-racists ignore. Do you have an answer?"