White racism is dead, part 4: review/detecting racism with science
Feb 25th, 2012 by Unamused
In the United States of America, there is no longer any systemic racial discrimination by white people against non-whites. In that sense, white racism is dead. Deceased. Extinct.
How do we know?
How do we know that white racism is dead? How can we show that something does not exist? By working backwards from the implications of its existence, asking: what do we observe that is unlikely to be true if there is systemic racial discrimination by whites and likely to be true if there is not?
The volume of evidence in our favor is staggering. None of the following should exist anywhere with systemic white racism.
- laws banning racial discrimination against non-whites (e.g., the Fourteenth Amendment, Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, and Title 42, Chapter 21 of the US Code)
- laws requiring racial discrimination against whites (affirmative action, quotas, etc.)
- government agencies that enforce this double standard* (e.g., the EEOC and the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ)
- an epidemic of racially motivated mob violence by blacks against whites, which in general goes unnoticed and unpunished
*The US Commission on Civil Rights has found that the Civil Rights Division displays “open hostility and opposition” to pursuing civil rights cases “in which whites were the perceived victims and minorities the alleged wrongdoers” (Washington Times).
We can easily turn up more evidence in the news archives of American Renaissance. If white racism really exists, we should expect to see none of the following stories, all from the past two weeks.
- “Navy Seeking More Minority SEALs”
- “Santaluces High School in Florida on Alert After 2 Teens Post Racist Video”
- “Gainesville High School Students’ Racist YouTube Rant Forces Girls to Leave School, Apologize”
- “Pat Buchanan Out at MSNBC”
- “Teacher Suspended for ‘Go Back to Mexico’ Comment”
- “LA County Supervisors Apologize for Repatriation of Mexican-Americans”
- “Nearly 700 Haitian Convicts Released During Moratorium on Deportations”
- “Baby Steps: Minneapolis Public Schools Work to Bring Back Somali Students”
- “Old Barriers Gone, New Ones Rising?”
- “Denied Jobs, Blacks in Iowa Test New Bias Theory”
- “The Silly Panic Over a Minority White Nation”
I believe that to an honest, reasonable, open-minded person, this list, which could easily have been a hundred times longer, should by itself constitute a proof by contradiction that white racism is dead.
Absence of evidence
In parts 2 and 3, we considered negative evidence against (the existence of) white racism: the absence of evidence for white racism. Contrary to popular belief, absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It is particularly strong evidence against white racism, because any evidence of racial discrimination by whites is extremely unlikely to go unnoticed. After all, turning up white racism is big business.
Our first example of such (negative) evidence was a curious reticence on the part of so-called “anti-racists” when called upon to state their case. These “anti-racists” are professional fabricators of almost unimaginably vast and complex conspiracies of white racism about which to complain (often very profitably). Why then are those few brave souls willing to oppose the white racist conspiracy — armed with nothing more than near-universal government, media and popular support — so reluctant to provide any specific examples*? Either they have none or they’ve realized that their examples tend to fall apart under close scrutiny, as in the next case: the Implicit Association Test.
*Bear in mind that disparate impact does not imply disparate treatment: race differences in outcome do not imply racial discrimination since we already know there are (genetic/innate) race differences in ability (e.g., intelligence and athleticism).
The Implicit Association Test
Researchers have tried and consistently failed to detect white racism in social science experiments, though many have nevertheless claimed success. Their failure constitutes another good example of (negative) evidence against the existence of that alleged racism. For example, in “Study seeks racism, finds it,” we looked at a hopelessly flawed study that claimed racial prejudice played a role in questioning President Obama’s citizenship.
Today, we examine the well known Implicit Association Test (IAT). Created by Project Implicit, “a Virtual Laboratory for the social and behavioral sciences designed to facilitate the research of implicit social cognition” (affiliated with Harvard University, the University of Washington, and the University of Virginia), the IAT is used to expose “prejudice,” meaning our unconscious or at least unstated preferences.
It is well known that people don’t always ‘speak their minds’, and it is suspected that people don’t always ‘know their minds’. Understanding such divergences is important to scientific psychology.
This web site presents a method that demonstrates the conscious-unconscious divergences much more convincingly than has been possible with previous methods. This new method is called the Implicit Association Test, or IAT for short.
According to Project Implicit, the IAT measures “implicit attitudes,” defined as
an attitude that can rub off on associated objects. Example: The company for which your spouse works is attacked in a legal suit. An inclination to believe that the company is guiltless could be a reflection of your positive attitude toward your spouse — your positive attitude toward the company provides an indirect (implicit) indicator of the positive attitude toward your spouse…. The word ‘implicit’ is used because these powerful attitudes are sometimes hidden from public view, and even from conscious awareness.
The IAT measures implicit attitudes through concept pairing.
The IAT asks you to pair two concepts (e.g., young and good, or elderly and good). The more closely associated the two concepts are, the easier it is to respond to them as a single unit. So, if young and good are strongly associated, it should be easier to respond faster when you are asked to give the same response (i.e. the ‘E’ or ‘I’ key) to these two. If elderly and good are not so strongly associated, it should be harder to respond fast when they are paired. This gives a measure of how strongly associated the two types of concepts are. The more associated, the more rapidly you should be able to respond.
At the IAT website, you can take a variety of demonstration tests, from an “Age IAT” to a “Weight IAT.” Many are said to “often reveal” an automatic preference: for young over old, on the Age IAT; for thin people relative to fat people, on the Weight IAT; for straight relative to gay people, on the Sexuality IAT; for light-skin relative to dark-skin, on the Skin-tone IAT; and for white over black, on the Race IAT. Others often reveal a relative link: between liberal arts and females and between science and males, on the Gender-Science IAT; and between family and females and between career and males, on the Gender-Career IAT.
Political correctness forbids us from mentioning the obvious common thread: all of these automatic preferences and relative links are quite valid. Thin is generally preferable to fat, heterosexuality is generally preferable to homosexuality, white people are generally preferable to black people, women are generally less interested in science, and so on.
Our interest is in the Race IAT, of course, and the automatic (and quite sensible) preference for white people over black people (on the part of people of all races).
Several frequently asked questions at Project Implicit deal with the Race IAT.
Is the common preference for White over Black in the Black-White attitude IAT a simple ‘ingroup’ preference — for example, the same as liking members of one’s family or feeling connected to people who come from one’s hometown?
Answer: For White respondents, the automatic White preference may in some sense be an ingroup preference. However, the automatic White preference is more than that — it is observed with similar strength among Asian Americans, for whom neither Black nor White is an ingroup. In this sense, the IAT may reflect an attitude that is learned through experience in a culture that does not regard Black Americans highly. Moreover, if the IAT result represented an ingroup preference exclusively, then Black Americans should show for their group the same level of automatic preference. We know that that is not the case. 50% of Black Americans show automatic Black preference, but the remaining half show an automatic White preference. We conclude from such data that the IAT preference is some combination of an automatic preference for one’s own, moderated by what one’s [sic] learns is regarded to be “good” in the larger culture.
“What one learns is regarded to be ‘good'” — interesting, by which I mean insane. I suppose if for some reason one learns that the trait known as intelligence and the not-unrelated trait known as not exhibiting antisocial behavior are “regarded to be ‘good'” — in other words, if it’s considered “good” to be smart and good — then one will probably display a preference for white (people) over black (people). But it would be more accurate to describe this as what one learns about white people and black people in the larger culture.
Do Black participants show a preference for Black over White on the race attitude IAT?
Answer: Although the majority of White respondents show a preference for White over Black, the responses from Black respondents are more varied. Although some Black participants show liking for White over Black, others show no preference, and yet others show a preference for Black over White. Data collected from this website consistently reveal approximately even numbers of Black respondents showing a pro-White bias as show a pro-Black bias. Part of this might be understood as Black respondents experiencing the similar negative associations about their group from experience in their cultural environments, and also experiencing competing positive associations about their group based on their own group membership and that of close relations.
Again, to someone who isn’t a radical pseudoscientist, it would be more accurate to state that part of this might be understood as black respondents experiencing the dysfunctional, anti-social behavior of other black people (leading to those “negative associations about their group”), and also (unlike white people) being allowed — indeed, encouraged — to express a preference for their own race, as part of a natural racial consciousness (which is denied to white people and only white people).
Why do many Americans show automatic preference for White over Black?
Answer: Automatic White preference may be common among Americans because of the deep learning of negative associations to the group Black in this society. High levels of negative references to Black Americans in American culture and mass media may contribute to this learning. Such negative references may themselves be more the residue of the long history of racial discrimination in the United States than the result of deliberate efforts to discriminate in media treatments.
Or it could be because of the “deep learning” of perfectly valid negative associations to “the group Black in this society” brought about by that group’s insistence on displaying behavior that merits “high levels of negative references.” This seems like a more plausible explanation than either the partially fabricated “long history of racial discrimination” or the totally fabricated “negative references to Black Americans in American culture and mass media” (i.e., supposed “deliberate efforts to discriminate in media treatments”).
Tell me, do my explanations seem more or less plausible than Project Implicit’s? I wouldn’t know, because it’s hard to see racism when you’re white.
Do young children show automatic preference for White over Black?
Answer: It is obvious that children are not born with preferences for one group or another.
That is not only not obvious, it’s probably false, as Jared Taylor explains in his latest book, “White Identity” (Chapter 4: “The Science of Human Nature”). But Project Implicit decided to provide counterevidence of their own.
We showed that 6 yr old, 10 yr old and adult Whites show the same level of automatic preference for their ingroup. What changes over time is the lowering of explicitly expressed preferences, with 6 yr olds reporting the strongest ingroup preference, 10 yr olds more moderate preference, and adults reporting the least of all.
This suggests that the “automatic preference for their ingroup” is actually innate — that children are in fact “born with preferences for one group or another” — and the lowering over time of “explicitly expressed preferences,” which they admit does not reflect a lowering of actual preferences, is due to our “anti-racist” (meaning, of course, anti-white) culture.
If my Black-White attitude IAT shows automatic White preference, does that mean that I’m prejudiced?
Answer: This is a very important question. Social psychologists use the word ‘prejudiced’ to describe people who endorse or approve of negative attitudes and discriminatory behavior toward various out-groups. Many people who show automatic White preference on the Black-White attitude IAT are not prejudiced by this definition. It is possible to show biases on the IAT that are not consciously endorsed, or are even contradictory to intentional attitudes and beliefs. People who hold egalitarian conscious attitudes in the face of automatic White preferences may able to function in non-prejudiced fashion partly by making active efforts to prevent their automatic White preference from producing discriminatory behavior. However, when they relax these active efforts, these non-prejudiced people may be likely to show discrimination in thought or behavior. The question of relation between implicit and explicit attitudes is of great interest to social psychologists, several of whom are doing research on that question for race-related attitudes.
Let me be clear on this crucial point. Racial prejudice — stereotyping — is rational and therefore good and therefore not racist (assuming of course that racism is, by definition, bad). There is no counterargument. If you really want to assign blame here, you should blame black muggers, Hispanic illegal immigrants, Arab terrorists, Asian graduate students…
It follows that the Implicit Association Test provides no evidence of racism (white or otherwise). The fact that it is so often claimed to do just that suggests that real scientific evidence is hard to come by, despite enormous efforts on the part of radical social scientists. This stubborn absence of scientific evidence in turn provides negative evidence for the absence of white racism. This was also the case with the study that claimed racial prejudice played a role in questioning President Obama’s citizenship.
Next time, we’ll investigate another attempt to detect racism with science, using stereotypically black names as a proxy — a really lousy one — for race.
Obligatory slutty forest faerie
Here is a slutty forest faerie.
Until next time.