Fact, Opinion and Annoyance

Who comes up with this stuff anyways?
March 4, 2009, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Race Relations | Tags: ,

After noting that the Harvard-run “Project Implicit” was mentioned in several articles I’ve read in the past couple of weeks, I decided to try it out for myself.  What is this magic wand that tells you about your implicit or subconscious thoughts?  It turns out to be an exercise in hand-eye coordination.

Sorry, I don’t buy it.  I don’t think my ability to match faces and words with their appropriate category says anything about my personal opinions regarding people and race – implicit or explicit.  It’s as reasonable as saying that my husband’s ability to blast his way through Doom predicts his chances in an actual battle with real guns (sorry honey – but you’d be a goner).

All of this begs the larger questions of what exactly constitutes racism, how important your implicit thoughts really are in comparison to your actual behavior, and why they don’t have a question on the test about whether you are a hard-core gamer (they should get at least a 10 point deduction in their score for unfair advantage over the rest of us).  And of course there’s the question of who is funding this project.  I could care less if people want to blow their time and hard-earned money on this – as long as it’s not my tax dollars.  But I won’t look too hard for fear I would be disappointed.

I’ll admit it, on occasion I have used phrases like “Black people always . . .”.  Of course, I also use the phases “People in New Jersey are so . . .” and “Men never . . .”  What does this mean?  It means that sometimes – out of confusion, exhaustion, or frustration – I make blanket statements that I know are not true.  I think that makes me human.  I can just see Data from Star Trek looking at me and saying, “I do not believe that your statement can be described as categorically true in all situations.”

Of course it can’t.  And that’s why when I meet someone who happens to be black, male, or from New Jersey (or of any race, gender, or address for that matter), I make a concerted effort to treat them as an individual who deserves the courtesy of telling me about themselves, rather than me deciding who they are. This process has served me well for many years, and as a result I have a wonderful group of friends from a lot of different backgrounds.  And I think it says a lot more about my racial preferences (or lack thereof) than a little flash game.

Oh, and here are my results, in case you were wondering . . .

1 Comment so far
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I love it! You scored in the “Obviously I’m Not A Racist” category as a white, middle class, suburban homeschooling mother. I want to know if any white,liberal elitists were shocked to see their scores.

The truth is there is no racism like the racism of paternalism, and conservatives refuse to play the paternalistic game. Very few people in this world deserve to be regarded as weak and in need of help. Most should be left alone to independently succeed or fail on their own.

Comment by so_free_me

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