Hidden Bias? Me? Never!

I saw this on TV a week or so ago, then promptly forgot about it. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a site called Tolerance.org that focuses on fighting hate and promoting tolerance. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Liberal claptrap and all that mush. Bite me.)

Anyway, they’ve actually got a neat little group of tests designed to uncover whether you’re as color-blind as you think you are. A series of pictures and words flash on the screen, and you must quickly categorize the image. For example, in the Native American test I took, you are shown white faces and Native American faces to put into the categories “White” or “Native American” (duh). Then, a series of place names are shown for you to tag as either “American” or “Foreign”. This is followed by a series of white faces to place in those categories (they tell you if you’re wrong). Finally, all the images and words are mixed together, leaving you to quickly decide: “American or Foreign?” The whole point being that, if we are left to decide whether a white face is American or Foreign, we’ll probably choose American, whereas a Native American face will be labeled “Foreign”.

Even though my results showed “Moderate automatic association between Native American faces and American,” I have several problems with this kind of test. It only measures instant reaction, not actual racial bias. One of the hallmarks of tolerance is to stifle your natural, human tendency to be wary of those outside your “tribe.” I might instantly react to someone with a hundred tattooes and piercings with “Ewww, scary!” That doesn’t mean I’ll treat them any differently, or that they won’t wind up being the coolest dude or dudette I ever met. Plus, if I knew who all the stupid white faces were, I would have put them in the right place! In fact, I tended to overcompensate and choose “Foreign” for all the whites! So, that kinda blows the test.

Anyway, it never hurts to do a little self-inspection. Go give it a shot. I’ll let you know how intolerant I am after I take the rest of the tests.

[ via The People’s Republic of Seabrook (I think he’s a damn furrinner…) ]

Native Americans as American: Moderate automatic association between Native American faces and American.
Sexual Bias: Slight automatic preference for Straight people.
Racial Bias (Arab Muslims): Moderate automatic preference for Other peoples.

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6 Responses to Hidden Bias? Me? Never!

  1. Scott says:

    I came up with little or no association. Interesting test.

  2. go fish says:

    Mugged with a mace

    Solonor linked to the hidden bias tests at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and I must admit that I was

  3. Zuly says:

    I did one of the tests the other day. Slight automatic preference for Straight people. I don’t necessarily think that’s a problem… except that they way the test is done and the known problems I’m having with brain function because of the medication I’m on, I’m not sure how valid the test actually is. Of course, I know I have bias. I’m just not sure how hidden it is.

  4. kat says:

    I came out somewhere in the middle. I may have clicked a few wrong buttons though dcreasing my scores. I will have to try these again when I can focus better. Interesting tests though. Thanks for the link. Oh, and I forgot to send it. I overslept today. Go ahead, smack me around and call me names. It’s ok. I deserve it.

  5. Well, I took the test, and I have huge problems with it. For one thing, I have really lousy hand-eye coordination. I took the “Native-American or White” test (or whatever it was called); not one of the Native American faces looked foreign to me, but maybe that is because my sister is a Menominee with some Cherokee. But sometimes instead of hitting the correct key, I would hit the wrong one, because of my lousy coordination. That says nothing at all about my level of bias or tolerance, only that I am a klutz who still can’t touch type.

  6. Solonor says:

    I agree. My blogged reservations about the test aren’t as strong as they got after I took a couple more tests. The whole putting white/straight/good vs Arab/gay/evil (or vice versa, I can’t remember) is kinda subliminal, too. It’s a neato time waster…not something to take seriously (says Joe Liberal).

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