The fascinating Implicit Associations tests pick up knee-jerk, subconscious biases. Harvard has ongoing online research using these tests, which thousands of people have taken. Anyone can participate through an easy process. You can investigate your own biases as well as support their very important research into these issues. My own result for the racial bias (and age bias) tests I took a few months ago were surprising to me, even though I thought I knew where I stood in my biases.
Here is the link to the test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/...
Focusing on the racial associations tests, according to the study so far, 70% of Americans (they don't divide the results by race) show a bias against Black people. The website does not trumpet this pivotal finding, but they do discuss/mention it. Perhaps this is because the study is still ongoing so they consider the results officially "preliminary". I know that researchers bend over backwards to not be or appear to be biased toward their own findings until they are as ironclad as possible. Yet again, thousands have taken this test and their technique of testing biases, their tool, has been show in the past to be effective.
The study findings explain the too-common white reaction to Obama and why many of the subtly and not so subtly racist-tinged insist they are not racist when we call out their irrational and outsized level of anger, antipathy, distrust, negativity, and judgement towards him. I think it explains some of the anger and outraged reactions they have to our calling-out and why they say those that accuse them of racism are making it up, or as they say "playing the race card". Many just aren't fully aware of their own racism. This doesn't let them off the hook for their racism-they need to root it out and work to vanquish it as many white people of good will and open mind strive to do. Of course, there are also the outwardly racist who know they are and think it is right, and probably many more who would vociferously defend themselves against charges of racism when they know they harbor those feelings. I suspect that certain politicians and right wing "journalists" and pundits fall into that latter category.
The results support our intuitive understanding in explaining much of the disparity in police reactions to Black people. especially during all-to-common episodes of violent over-reactions, which often require quick decisions around relative "danger". If the automatic snap judgement is that Black people are "bad" and "dangerous" or "criminal" (these kind of negative word associations are tested for against various races in the study) and that is the involuntarily judgement of many police officers, the implications are dire for Black people in interaction with Police. Even if a Black person is within eye shot of an officer, it would seem (if I interpret the study correctly-dicuss!) there is a more than even chance that the person would register as more 'suspicious' to him than a white person would. Thus, we get the walking while Black, driving while Black, breathing while Black that we all see.
There is of course also "being on trial while Black". The ramifications and usefulness of this study seem profound in when contemplating and addressing the inequality and lack of justice in the criminal "justice" system. It seems the majority of Americans from all walks of life have at least some implicit bias against Black people. My interpretation is that testing positive for implicit bias means one is not completely under control of one's prejudiced reactions even if one does work on trying to eliminate them as such professionals should. Even if legal professionals and judges were working to be equally fair to all, the study suggests the possibility that many may not have their knee-jerk biases fully under control. Moreover, with this study we can now show the likelyhood that many jurors start off with an implicit bias against Black defendants. It would be interesting if judges, prosecutors, and juries were tested for implicit bias. Even now, it would seem the study could be used to help Black defendants. Perhaps someone who is a lawyer could clarify how the results of this study,when the researchers deem in completed, should and could be used in the justice system to level the playing field for Black Americans. Surely this information needs to be used for this purpose if it is not.
It is a shame that the MSM or even, as far as I know, the left leaning media, hasn't reported on the study and its significant and currently very relevant findings and implications. It seems important for the public to be broadly aware of our ubiquitous bias against Black people-surely it will shape the important discussions on race we are having and influence people into examining their own racism and knee jerk biases. Our opinions and intuitions about this bias hold less weight with the unconvinced than the results of a study of thousands done at Harvard. So, I hope you will join me in spreading the word about the study. All of us can use the, at least preliminary,results of this study as the perfect counter argument to people expressing racism who are insisting they are not and that we are "playing the race card". It seems to be unbiased evidence of what Black people viscerally know and experience and what intuitive and open non-Black people also perceive. And it is the counter argument to the noxious ideas the right wing and Fox push that there really is just something wrong with Black people that entirely explains their relative difficulties in getting ahead in education, careers and many areas as well as their higher incarceration rates and "criminality".
What is largely wrong, seemingly, is that 70% of Americans have a subconscious, instant, negative judgement of Black people.