Are you secretly racist?

Maybe.  But don’t come to any conclusions based on the super-popular Implicit Association Test.  The IAT is super-cool.  I’ve done a bunch of these myself (try it here) and I really like how my friend, Alex Theodoridis applied it to partisanship, but Jesse Singal’s terrific article makes clear that its utility for understanding racism has been waaaaaay over-sold.  This is a long piece, but if you are interested in social science (or, specifically, the idea of implicit racism), it’s really a pretty fascinating case on how an idea really took over the field, gained huge real-word practical relevance, and only recently has been shown to be deeply suspect.

I was intrigued by reading about all the people that were traumatized in learning they were implicitly racist.  I don’t remember my exact results, but I know what I consciously think, I know my political views, and I know how I treat people, so I was never bothered by the fat that my brain might more rapidly respond to Black people connected to negative words than white people connected to negative words.

And, good news, I figured since this is from back in January, somebody must have done a pretty decent short version.  German Lopez at Vox!  And I missed it.  Anyway, definitely check out the Vox version.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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