Implicit Association

From an article by Genna Buck, “Is hate part of human nature?” Metro News (Ottawa), July 15-17, 2016:

Everyone is a little bit racist. It’s scientifically proven, right?
–D.B., Winnipeg

Yee, the evidence suggests most people, at least unconsciously, have a not-so-nice view of marginalized groups like African-Americans and gay people. Social scientists call this implicit bias, and there’s significant controversy over how it’s measured.

A popular way to measure bias, including racism, is an implicit association test (IAT). It’s a computer game that works something like this: You sort images (of black or white people) and words (like “great” or “horrible”) into two categories, “Black/Unpleasant” and “White/Pleasant”. Then the categories switch to “Black/Pleasant” and “White/Unpleasant”.

If you’re faster sorting when black is paired with unpleasant, the program gauges it’s more automatic for you to think that way. Therefore, you have a higher degree of implicit bias against black people. In a popular IAT available online from Harvard, 70 per cent of participants are biased against black people.

Though it’s been used for decades, many experts question if the IAT is valid (if it really measures what it’s supposed to) and reliable (if its results are consistent). …I have a hunch that it’s used not because it’s the best metric, but because it is straightforward and cheap. Naturally, it’s a gross oversimplification of racism…

Where there is implicit bias in the article itself. Bias equated with hatred. “Most people” should be qualified as “most white hetrosexual people”…or is that a biased qualification? Are the 70% identified as being biased against blacks identified as non-black? White only? Other colours? What are the implicit biases of blacks and gay people, by colour or otherwise?

All seems to come down to a “like me” effect. Whoever that person might be. And the more one interacts with people who are not “like me” and the more those not “like me” interact with that person…


About brucelarochelle
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