Color-Coded Alert

Kevin Lewis

January 04, 2010

Implicit (and explicit) racial attitudes barely changed during Barack Obama's presidential campaign and early presidency

Kathleen Schmidt & Brian Nosek
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

As a high-status, omnipresent Black exemplar, Barack Obama and his rise to the presidency of the United States may have induced a cultural shift in implicit racial attitudes, much like controlled exposures to positive Black and negative White exemplars have done in the laboratory (Dasgupta & Greenwald, 2001). With a very large, heterogeneous sample collected daily for 2.5 years prior to, during and after the 2008 Election season (N = 479,405), we observed very little evidence of systematic change in implicit and explicit racial attitudes overall, within subgroups, or for particular notable dates. Malleability of racial attitudes - implicit or explicit - may be conditional on more features than the mere presence of high-status counter-stereotypic exemplars.


Are blacks egregious speeding violators at extraordinary rates in New Jersey?

Joseph Kadane, Leonard Savage & John Lamberth
Law, Probability and Risk, June 2009, Pages 139-152

In 1996, a New Jersey Court found that the New Jersey State Police engaged in targeting black motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike (NJT), intensifying the debate around racial profiling. Two recent articles have claimed that the standard of comparison for determining racial profiling was incorrect because either the measurements utilized to make that determination or the standard used in Soto were wrong. The present article concludes that the measures used in the Soto case were valid and reliable. It presents two experiments that show that the suggestion that blacks are stopped at about the correct rate on the NJT because they egregiously violate speed laws much more frequently than do whites is erroneous. The data are consistent with the use of racially informed traffic stops as a pretext for drug searches on the southern end of NJT.


Changing Minority Representation in the U.S. Military

David Armor & Curtis Gilroy
Armed Forces & Society, January 2010, Pages 223-246

The Department of Defense has always sought a socially representative enlisted force, especially with respect to African American and Hispanic minorities. Ideally, in a democratic society a military force should be representative of the nation it defends. African American overrepresentation was a major concern during the first decade of the All-Volunteer Force (AVF), while Hispanics were underrepresented. During the 1980s black representation stabilized and Hispanics began to increase, especially with respect to enlistments. Starting in the 1990s, black representation began to decline, followed more recently by declines among Hispanics. This article examines changes in minority representation since the inception of the AVF in 1973 and argues that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have played a significant role in recent changes.


The Subtle Transmission of Race Bias via Televised Nonverbal Behavior

Max Weisbuch, Kristin Pauker & Nalini Ambady
Science, 18 December 2009, Pages 1711-1714

Compared with more explicit racial slurs and statements, biased facial expressions and body language may resist conscious identification and thus produce a hidden social influence. In four studies, we show that race biases can be subtly transmitted via televised nonverbal behavior. Characters on 11 popular television shows exhibited more negative nonverbal behavior toward black than toward status-matched white characters. Critically, exposure to prowhite (versus problack) nonverbal bias increased viewers' bias even though patterns of nonverbal behavior could not be consciously reported. These findings suggest that hidden patterns of televised nonverbal behavior influence bias among viewers.


Implicit Race Attitudes Predicted Vote in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

Anthony Greenwald, Colin Tucker Smith, N. Sriram, Yoav Bar-Anan & Brian Nosek
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, December 2009, Pages 241-253

In the week before the 2008 United States presidential election, 1,057 registered voters reported their choice between the principal contenders (John McCain and Barack Obama) and completed several measures that might predict their candidate preference, including two implicit and two self-report measures of racial preference for European Americans (Whites) relative to African Americans (Blacks) and measures of symbolic racism and political conservatism. Greater White preference on each of the four race attitude measures predicted intention to vote for McCain, the White candidate. The implicit race attitude measures (Implicit Association Test and Affect Misattribution Procedure) predicted vote choice independently of the self-report race attitude measures, and also independently of political conservatism and symbolic racism. These findings support construct validity of the implicit measures.


It Does Not Have To Be Uncomfortable: The Role of Behavioral Scripts in Black-White Interracial Interactions

Derek Avery, Jennifer Richeson, Michelle Hebl & Nalini Ambady
Journal of Applied Psychology, November 2009, Pages 1382-1393

Despite growing racioethnic diversity in U.S. organizations, few organizational studies have focused on Black-White interracial interactions. Two experiments examined the influence of interaction roles, and the social scripts they trigger, on White participants' anxiety during dyadic interactions with Black partners. Results from both studies reveal that White participants exhibited greater discomfort in Black-White interactions than in same-race interactions unless their interaction role offered an accessible script to guide behavior. Thus, the present findings suggest organizations may be able to attenuate anxiety among White employees by (a) providing opportunities for initial Black-White interactions in settings with clearly defined social scripts for behavior and (b) helping them to develop behavioral scripts for naturally occurring Black-White workplace interactions.


Discrimination in the lab: Does information trump appearance?

Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie
Games and Economic Behavior, January 2010, Pages 50-59

Using a laboratory experiment, we find evidence consistent with statistical discrimination in a public good and group formation game. In the game, payoff relevant information is presented to subjects, thereby making it costly to discriminate when choosing group members. We find that behavior is correlated with race and people use race to predict behavior. However, race only matters when information on behavior is absent. These results are further confirmed when incentives are in place to encourage behavior that is counter to stereotypes. Not all subjects discriminate in the same way, suggesting unfamiliarity and some in-group, out-group bias. Overall, the evidence points to a lack of information rather than discriminatory preferences.


Southern Strategy 2.0: Conservatives, White Voters, and the Election of Barack Obama

Thomas Edge
Journal of Black Studies, January 2010, Pages 426-444

In the rush of excitement over Barack Obama's nomination and ascension to the presidency of the United States, many media figures were loathe to analyze the impact of race on both the rhetoric of the election and the actual results. From across the political spectrum, pundits argued that race did not play a major role on Election Day, without offering any context to such comments. Likewise, conservatives in particular have used that idea to assert that racism is no longer a hindrance to advancement in American society. This article seeks to examine the role of race in the election, both in political attacks on Barack Obama and in an analysis of the voting patterns, with a particular emphasis on how conservatives have tried to shape the contours of these discussions. Their purpose, it is argued, is to launch Southern Strategy 2.0, which seeks to use Obama's victory to attack some of the results of the civil rights movement that helped make his rise possible. At the same time, it still plays on some of the overt racism of the first Southern Strategy, using Obama's racial identity and politics to challenge whether he is "American" enough to lead the nation. Thus, conservatives use Obama's image as a sign that racism is dead, while simultaneously attacking him with the same race-based tactics that have played such an important role in the recent history of the Republican Party.


Are Blacks and Hispanics Disproportionately Incarcerated Relative to Their Arrests? Racial and Ethnic Disproportionality Between Arrest and Incarceration

Casey Harris, Darrell Steffensmeier, Jeffrey Ulmer & Noah Painter-Davis
Race and Social Problems, December 2009, Pages 187-199

Do large racial and ethnic disparities in prison populations reflect systematic racial and policy discrimination in the criminal justice system, or do they reflect disproportionate involvement of blacks and Hispanics in "serious" or street crime? Our investigation of this question keys off the approach initiated by Alfred Blumstein is his pioneering studies on the topic. While yielding important findings, there are, however, substantial gaps in the empirical literature on the racial disproportionality issue. We attempt to fill those gaps by (1) using both data on prison admission as well as in-stock prison populations, (2) presenting more recent racially and ethnically disaggregated arrest and incarceration data from Pennsylvania for 2003-2007, and (3) including Hispanic offenders in our racial and ethnic disproportionality comparisons. Our results indicate, first, that the representation of blacks, whites, and Hispanics among offenders admitted to state prison and in the prison population corresponds closely to their representation in arrest statistics. Second, using arrests as a marker of violent offending, the overrepresentation of blacks among offenders admitted to state prisons occurs because they commit a disproportionate number of frequently imprisoned (i.e., violent) crimes. Third, for those offenses where there is a within-race difference between arrest and incarceration representation, Hispanics experience the greatest disadvantage. Fourth, failing to account for Hispanics in white and black estimates tends to inflate white proportions and deflate black proportions of arrests, admissions, and prison population estimates, masking the "true" black and white racial disproportionality. We conclude that while there is a need for continued concern with possible racial discrimination in justice system processing, this concern should not distract attention from what arguably is the more important matter-ameliorating the social environmental conditions that foster disproportionate minority (especially black) involvement in violent crime.


The role of experience during childhood in shaping the other-race effect

Adélaïde de Heering, Claire de Liedekerke, Malorie Deboni & Bruno Rossion
Developmental Science, January 2010, Pages 181-187

It is well known that adults' face recognition is characterized by an 'other-race effect' (ORE; see Meissner & Brigham, 2001), but few studies have investigated this ORE during the development of the face processing system. Here we examined the role of experience with other-race faces during childhood by testing a group of 6- to 14-year-old Asian children adopted between 2 and 26 months in Caucasian families living in Western Europe, as well as a group of age-matched Caucasian children. The latter group showed a strong ORE in favour of own-race faces that was stable from 6 to 14 years of age. The adopted participants did not show a significant reversal of the ORE, unlike a recently reported study (Sangrigoli et al., 2005), but rather comparable results with Asian and Caucasian faces. Their pattern of performance was neither influenced by their age of adoption, nor by the amount of experience they accumulated during childhood with other-race faces. These results indicate that the balance of performance with Asian and Caucasian faces can be modulated, but not completely reversed, in children whose exposure to own- and other-race faces changes drastically during the period of maturation of the face recognition system, depending on the length of exposure to the new face race. Overall, experience appears to be crucial during childhood to shape the face recognition system towards the most predominant morphologies of faces present in the environment.


Why Don't We Practice What We Preach? A Meta-Analytic Review of Religious Racism

Deborah Hall, David Matz & Wendy Wood
Personality and Social Psychology Review, forthcoming

A meta-analytic review of past research evaluated the link between religiosity and racism in the United States since the Civil Rights Act. Religious racism partly reflects intergroup dynamics. That is, a strong religious in-group identity was associated with derogation of racial out-groups. Other races might be treated as out-groups because religion is practiced largely within race, because training in a religious in-group identity promotes general ethnocentrism, and because different others appear to be in competition for resources. In addition, religious racism is tied to basic life values of social conformity and respect for tradition. In support, individuals who were religious for reasons of conformity and tradition expressed racism that declined in recent years with the decreased societal acceptance of overt racial discrimination. The authors failed to find that racial tolerance arises from humanitarian values, consistent with the idea that religious humanitarianism is largely expressed to in-group members. Only religious agnostics were racially tolerant.

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