Thursday, April 03, 2008

Actions and Words

I was reading today and found this article on implicit attitudes about race. The article includes a series of test you can try over at Project Implicit. Each test works the same. You're shown a series of images which you must quickly categorize. Next you're shown a series of words you must categorize as good or bad. Then the tasks are combined. Then they are switched. And then you feel like a jerk for being such a racist homophobic Republican. Seriously, follow the link and try a few tests.

When you get your results, you're shown a summary of how other web respondents scored. Sadly, like 33% of respondents, I have a strong automatic preference for able-bodied people, yet I also have a strong automatic preference for Franklin D. Roosevelt over George W. Bush. I could have predicted the second result but not the first.

Project Implicit really demonstrates how people's actions are different from their words. We say we don't judge people, but we do. However, I think we benefit from knowing our own biases. The real problems arise when we know our own biases and simply don't care.

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