Friday, January 09, 2009

Academics miss the point again, as usual

This story was in today's paper, and has produced the usual gasps of shock and horror from the bien-pensants of North America.
For the study, the researchers evaluated 120 white students in Canada who were exposed to racism while waiting for what they thought was the real experiment to begin.

A white student posing as a study participant makes a racist comment about a black participant when he briefly leaves the room. The remarks ranges from moderate to extreme racial slurs. When the black student returns, the actual participants are asked to choose partners for a subsequent exercise.

They found 63 percent of study participants chose the person who made the racist comment as a partner.
Well, of course, this can mean only one thing. It's in the headline, for people who want the quick and dirty version:
Whites may be more racist than they think: study
After the administration of smelling salts, one professor arose from his fainting couche, and managed to send his manservant out with the following communication:
"People do not think of themselves as prejudiced, and they predict that they would be very upset by a racist act and would take action," said Kerry Kawakami, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, Canada, whose study appears in the journal Science.

"However, we found that their responses are much more muted than they expect when they are actually faced with an overtly racist comment," Kawakami said in a statement.
Another researcher managed to drag himself to the telephone to utter these words of wisdom:
We were all surprised at the discrepancy between what people thought they would do and what people actually did when they were put in that situation," John Dovidio of Yale University in Connecticut, who also worked on the study, said in a telephone interview.

"They didn't shun the person who made an obvious racist remark, and in fact they showed a slight tendency at wanting to work with this person," he said.

Those who actually experienced the encounter were less distressed than those who read about or watched a video of the encounter. The latter were much more likely to say they would not work with such a person.

"Some of this may be due to the situation. We don't have a lot of practice about how to respond," Dovidio said.

Ironically, he said, many other studies have found people who are confronted after making racial comments are far less likely to repeat the behavior.

"By not doing anything you are actually contributing to a society that will be racist in the future," he said.

What all of them are forgetting is the context in which this happened.

This study took place in Canada, the land of fascist tribunals and government speech control. The students, hearing the racist comments, were not thinking, "Finally! Someone who agrees with me about blacks!" They were thinking, "Holy shit! That guy has BALLS!" They saw him as a rebel against the cringing, apologetic wimps our government tyrants want to mold us into. It was the difference between this:
and THIS:

If you were about to engage in some enterprise that you wanted to win, which one would you pick as a partner?

But such common sense reasoning is completely beyond these so-called academics, and so they fall back on their fantasies: this MUST mean that the students are racists, it MUST. In so doing, they are about to go running off after completely fictional dangers while ignoring the very real one: that in a country as stifled and strangled as Canada, people respond positively to someone who gives the finger to all the nervous little rules and regulations that the government keeps tying us down with. Which means that the very regulations the HRCs are so obsessed with enforcing are producing an atmosphere of hidden dissent and resentment, which someone with guts could articulate and ride to popular approval. The record of this sort of demagogue is not good, and when he finally comes, it's the regulators we may thank for smoothing his way.


Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Dr. Mabuse,

Here's an academic who didn't miss the point as he won the 2008 award for Political Incorrectness. Look here.

2:31 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

A worthy winner indeed! I wish Dr. Straus were the rule instead of the exception.

2:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am highly skeptical of any study that seems to provide the very result its designers obviously wanted. Take this one with a shovelful of salt.

Ellie M.

7:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm....maybe no one protested the remarks because the study was so ineptly executed that no one fell for it and just thought "whatever". It seems so contrived it's hard to see how one could avoid smelling a rat.

It's also depressing how these 'researchers' seem to regard people as animals to be experimented on as a prelude to (I suppose) try to pass laws to condition them better in public schools. When you think someone is morally wrong, but respect them as a human being, you argue with them, or call their attention to their bad habits individually (if they were being unconsciously racist). You don't play tricks on them like this.

I guess the one-on-one approach is too inefficient. *sigh*

2:22 pm  
Blogger Ronsonic said...

Like all of these breathlessly announced studies, I want to see the actual setup, situation and raw data.

This one reminds me of the study a few years ago that found "employers discriminate against people with identifiably black names." It was a well structured study, resumes were sent with names chosen according to hospital records for each demographic - some names got a lot more calls for interviews than others. What the raw data showed is that "Ebony" got more calls than "Heather." It was "Quanisha" who couldn't get a date. The employers weren't rejecting "black," they were rejecting "ghetto." Not a subtle difference.

In this study, I want to know what the researchers considered racist. Or was it merely plain spoken. Was the "racist" obviously wronged and thus not unreasonable in expressing a harsh opinion. In the examples published, a black did something boorish or rude to "provoke" the remark. Was that action off-putting to the test subject.

8:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balls are in distincly short supply in the Demented Dominion. The public education system routinely psychologically castrates male children as a matter of policy.

But leave it to Quebecois to come up with a label/name for the generations of psychologically castrated males among us: "les hommes rose" which means "pink men". PERFECT!

We all have a few pink men in our workplaces by now. We are familiar with their tentative voices, the tiny interjections, their humbly voiced queries. They make me sick. Spinelessness is both ugly and dangerous.

Canada is so screwed.

7:50 am  

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