moldybluecheesecurds 2

Monday, October 06, 2008

Election 2008: a chance to conquer unconscious racism

The studies show that conscious prejudice has been on the decline for years, but that unconscious prejudice has been fairly steady.  The problem is that the prejudice rarely happens in a clear-cut fashion:
Whites are particularly likely to discriminate against blacks when choices are not clear-cut and competing arguments are flying about...

For example, when the black job candidate is highly qualified, there is no discrimination. Yet in a more muddled gray area where reasonable people could disagree, unconscious discrimination plays a major role.

White participants recommend hiring a white applicant with borderline qualifications 76 percent of the time, while recommending an identically qualified black applicant only 45 percent of the time.
The subconscious prejudice unfortunately plays out in the election campaign:
a careful survey completed last month by Stanford University, with The Associated Press and Yahoo, suggested that Mr. Obama’s support would be about six percentage points higher if he were white
It may seem that solving this problem is beyond us. 
But another lesson, a historical one, is that we can overcome unconscious bias. That’s what happened with the decline in prejudice against Catholics after the candidacy of John F. Kennedy in 1960.

No comments: