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troubleinharlem's avatar

Do you have an automatic preference for white over black?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7976points) February 10th, 2011

I’m reading the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and it led me to take a test here (down at the very bottom). I found it to be kind of creepy because it shows your automatic preference shown by your unconscious mind and your snap judgments.

Would you like to take it and share your results? I got that I slightly preferred black over white, which I wouldn’t consider to be necessarily true, but it was still eye-opening for me.

If you don’t want to share your result (which is okay!) then would you like to discuss why you think this happened and why your subconscious made these quick decisions while you were unaware?

Here’s what my book says at the end of the chapter:

So what does this mean? Does this mean that I’m a racist? Not exactly. What it means is that our attitudes toward things like race or gender operate on two levels. We have our conscious attitudes, what we choose to believe, and the unconscious level, the immediate automatic associations.

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28 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

My results said “Your data suggest little to no automatic preference between African American and European American.”

It was an interesting test and I’m glad it explains afterward how they judge what your preference is because I was really wondering about that as I was doing the test. After seeing my results, it took me to the page with the percentages of all the people that have taken the test. I’m curious if the results are skewed just because of who would actually take the test (meaning not only regular internet access, but the ability to find the test online).

Ohh and when I was taking the test, I was keeping the 4 categories separate. I wasn’t making the association in my head that white was good/bad and black was good/bad depending on which side they were, instead I looked at the words as good/bad and the pictures as black/white, so that might have a bit to do with mine being set in the middle.

thorninmud's avatar

I did this awhile back and it said that I have a slight bias in favor of African Americans.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

“Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for African American compared to European American.”
I don’t understand how it works. Does anyone know?

mammal's avatar

i also don’t see, Coca Cola, Money (wallet) and mobile phones as particular harmless. So i am confused.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@mammal you would think that would be asked at the beginning, when filling out the other personal information.

geeky_mama's avatar

I just got: Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for African American compared to European American.

That surprises me. My best friend is African American..but I have many many other friends who are European American. And..I’m as pale white as raw chicken..me & my kids practically glow in the dark we’re so pale white. So…I don’t get it…

When I first saw your question I was thinking of color preference (not skin tone or race per se, but just color spectrum)...because when we got our dog a couple of years ago from a rescue group (like SPCA, he’s a pound puppy) we were asked to consider one of their big black dogs because few people will adopt black furry animals for some reason. Maybe they’re worried about their hair shedding & being more noticeable? I dono.. all I know is, it’s a phenomena other friends who work for local pet shelters have confirmed with me.. the black animals get left behind. So, we now have 2 black cats and 1 (verrry big) black dog.

Seaofclouds's avatar

From my understanding about the test, it takes your reaction time and correct response when you are categorizing blacks/white on the side with good/bad word association. So if you were faster and more accurate to say the whites were white when they were on the ‘good’ side and blacks were black when there were on the ‘bad’ side, it would say you have a preference of whites because you were quicker to relate them to good while relating blacks to bad. And then switch that if the preference was the other way around. I’m guessing the speed of your reaction and the accuracy of your answer are what determine how strong the preference is.

glenjamin's avatar

As soon as I saw this question I thought about the implicit association test, I took it during my psych undergrad but I don’t remember the results. Anyway, this time around I had too many errors to produce a result :(

aprilsimnel's avatar

I’ve taken this test before in separate years, and my results both times were the same as @Seaofclouds, no automatic preference. I don’t associate “good/bad” with entire groups of people, apparently.

ucme's avatar

Mine came up thus, it don’t matter if you’re black or white….hee eeh! Which is both mildly entertaining & stunningly accurate as it happens :¬)

everephebe's avatar

“Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Dark Skin compared to Light Skin.” Meh….

You’re right the test is a little creepy.

Mariah's avatar

I think this test is silly.
It told me I’m a big stinkin’ racist just because I got really used to African American being on the left side and European American being on the right side, and during the second part when they changed it up on me I kept having to look up at the labels to remember which side which was on, and it slowed me down significantly.
I feel absolutely certain that if they had presented the test to me in the opposite order, my results would have been that I’m a big stinkin’ racist but in the opposite way.
I’m not racist :(

DominicX's avatar

“Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for European American compared to African American.”

Well, that’s disturbing. :\

Soubresaut's avatar

I got no preference, I think mostly because I kept mixing up the categories regardless when I tried to go faster. Just to get it in the right category I would have to slow down and read them all again.
I had trouble with some of the categorizations they chose. I kept putting ‘failure’ as good because I don’t see it as a bad thing, and little things like that. It was such a stark-sides test and I suck at that type of thing…
I wonder if they do this test in different orders and get the same results? Because after a while you get used to a category being on one side vs the other.
Interesting, though.

everephebe's avatar

All the faces are used for both dark skin and light skin, so it’s like, “Wait but that face was light or dark, last time it popped up!?!?” I think it’s fallible as any test is. Especially polarized tests like this one. It matters most how you act on your preferences consciously.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Mariah :

Here’s what my book says at the end of the chapter:

”So what does this mean? Does this mean that I’m a racist? Not exactly. What it means is that our attitudes toward things like race or gender operate on two levels. We have our conscious attitudes, what we choose to believe, and the unconscious level, the immediate automatic associations.”

troubleinharlem's avatar

@everephebe : The point is to answer as quickly as you can to tap into that unconscious “snap second” judgment that we all have.

everephebe's avatar

Oh I know that, and I went fast, that’s why I got the results I did. I meant in real life after the test, you can subconsciously think awful things but if you act decently that’s what matters.

You don’t have to make these kinds of snap judgments in real life.

tinyfaery's avatar

“Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Black people compared to White people.”

I already knew that. I have prejudices, as we all do.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Does it actually say “black” and “white” or “light skinned” and “dark skinned?” Was that just a preference in how you typed it out, or don’t they all say “European American” and “African American?”

Mariah's avatar

@troubleinharlem But I really don’t think this test is a good indication of my unconscious attitude towards race. It’s a better indication of my (poor) ability to memorize changing instructions.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf There are several different tests. One for European American and African American and one for light skin and dark skin (along with several others). The one I took said ‘European American’ and ‘African American’.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Seaofclouds ohhh, I hadn’t noticed the other test.

faye's avatar

Whewf, I got bored! I’ll just admit I am rascist about behaviors no matter what color is doing it!

naivete's avatar

Your data suggest little to no automatic preference between European American and African American.

Hmmm…. I guess I don’t care if you’re black or white :)

geeky_mama's avatar

I agree with @Mariah—the flaw in this test can come down to typing speed and getting used to the test (so that you’re faster the second time around, or confused when they’ve switched the sides).

syzygy2600's avatar

I think people who have a slight preference for their own race are healthier than those who have a preference for the other race, as those people are probably self hating.

I got “Your data suggest little to no automatic preference between European American and African American.”

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@syzygy2600 considering that according to this test, I would fall into the category of people you’ve just described as “probably self hating,” let’s not forget that this is supposed to be a subconscious response. I do not consciously have a preference based on the color of someone’s skin, and certainly no self-hate type feelings to go along with that.

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