From ‘liquid biopsies’ to precision medicine, these five developments will change cancer care in the next decade. Learn more.

Reply
Treasured Social Butterfly
3
Kudos
176
Views

Re: Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend

176 Views
Message 31 of 35

Having black friends doesn’t make you not racist. Just like having a wife doesn’t mean you aren’t sexist.

Report Inappropriate Content
3
Kudos
176
Views
Treasured Social Butterfly
2
Kudos
178
Views

Re: Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend

178 Views
Message 32 of 35

 

Sure isn't easy to change those racist stripes.....


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
Report Inappropriate Content
2
Kudos
178
Views
Treasured Social Butterfly
1
Kudos
158
Views

Re: Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend

158 Views
Message 33 of 35
Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend........................Cent............What color friend do you suggest they mention. Do you have a favorite color to suggest?
Report Inappropriate Content
1
Kudos
158
Views
Treasured Social Butterfly
2
Kudos
143
Views

Re: Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend

143 Views
Message 34 of 35

Completely agree. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt...and then I read he’s commented on the whole racist birther conspiracy, saying send Obama back to Kenya.  

Report Inappropriate Content
2
Kudos
143
Views
Treasured Social Butterfly
3
Kudos
149
Views
34
Replies

Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend

149 Views
Message 35 of 35

Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend

 

 

When something is thoroughly covered by both the New Republic and Urban Dictionary it has clearly reached a point of sufficient social saturation. So there’s no need to go into great detail about the trope of the accused racist who cites minority friends as proof that they don’t have a single racist bone in their body.

 

But what makes this defense so popular? Why is there such an urge to bring up something as nondescript as having a friend?

 

A new study by Daniel Effron of the London Business School provides an answer. Effron found that

threats to moral identity increase the degree to which people believe past actions have proven their morality. In other words, the threat of appearing racist leads people to overestimate how much their past non-racist actions—like making friends with somebody of another race—are indicative of their non-racist attitudes.

 

In one set of experiments, participants had the opportunity to make a non-racist choice—for example, reading about a theft and correctly identifying a White rather than Black suspect as the thief. Participants who made the non-racist choice then had to either anticipate a threatening situation (having to defend a statement that compared Blacks unfavorably to Whites) or a non-threatening situation (defending a statement unrelated to race.) Participants then rated how much their initial selection of the White suspect was diagnostic of their non-racist attitudes.

 

Compared to participants who did not have to face a threatening situation, participants who felt threatened believed their decision to finger the White suspect was significantly more indicative of non-racist attitudes. Threatened participants still believed in the increased importance of their decision even when told that 98% of participants had also chosen the White suspect as the thief.

Might the threatened participants be justified in their beliefs? Do others actually see a previous non-racist decision as meaningful?

 

Probably not. In follow up experiments outside observers did not believe that selecting the white suspect was a sign of non-racist attitudes. Furthermore, Effron found that overestimating your non-racist “credentials” (e.g. believing you’re not racist because you have a Black friend) is more likely than underestimating your credentials to be seen as a sign of prejudice.

 

Taken together, the results illuminate the psychological mechanisms behind one of the most popular rationalization of racism. Somebody feels their image of being racially tolerant is under threat, so they overestimate how much previous behavior—having a beer with a Black guy, for example—is a sign of their tolerance. But highlighting this behavior has the opposite of the intended effect because people see the overestimation of the behavior’s importance as a sign of prejudice.

 

The conclusion is nothing that society hasn’t already figured out. If you’re accused of any kind of inappropriate -ism, don’t defend yourself by citing a particular action or relationship. It’s understandable that doing so seems like the best solution, but it’s probably better to keep your mouth shut. Or at least be prepared to cite 50+ data points rather than the vague existence of “some” friends.

 

Why Every Racist Mentions Their Black Friend


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
Report Inappropriate Content
3
Kudos
149
Views
34
Replies
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Announcements

Are you new to the online community? Say Hi and tell us a bit about yourself, your interests, and how we can help make this community a great experience for you!


close-up group of seniors smiling at camera

Top Authors