Am I racist against white people?
I took the Implicit Association Test for race at Project Implicit (you can register to participate in online implicit association psychology research.) My results surprised me:
I expected to be neutral (don't we all think/hope we are), or if anything, to have a slight preference for European American, given that I am myself a European American.
I wonder if my results are related to the community-oriented culture in West Africa. In Ghana, if you are in trouble, you know people will help you. I would have been unsurprised to find I had implicit associations between African Americans and words like "community", "help", or "friendly", as a result of my experiences with Africans.
In more individualist America, I don't trust that bystanders will help if I'm in trouble. But there are positive words I would associate that culture too-- words like "freedom", "privacy", "efficiency" or "merit". I wonder if the words selected for use in the implicit bias test are more likely to be associated with traits I like about Ghanaian culture than the traits I like about American culture.
I think the important take away, though, is that it is very easy to make implicit but fallacious generalizations-- in my case, that only European features imply American culture, or that African features only imply Ghanaian culture. Living in another culture certainly challenges your preconceptions-- I remember when Trayvon Martin's death made the news, thinking, "Black people wear hoodies??"-- but it's important to remember that it doesn't make you immune from internalizing new biases.
1/28/2017 10:15:49 am
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I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.