Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Whom do you trust? Study reveals our unconscious mind can have racist tendencies...no matter how liberal we are on surface
Banaji has been pushing this barrow for years. I have commented on her work previously -- but the latest report (below) does seem to be an advance in that the findings would seem to provide convergent validation for the rather dubious Implicit Association Test. The correlations reported suggest that the IAT measures what it purports to measure.
Banaji still seems to be naive about the implications of her work however. She seems to think that by "acknowledging" our unconscious biases, we can reduce them. If we look at the stereotyping research, however, that becomes unlikely. As I noted in my previous comments, stereotypes are rapidly formed protective generalizations based mostly on personal experience -- and what Banaji has shown is that whites have negative stereotypes about blacks. Given the high rate of violent crime among blacks it would be surprising if it were otherwise. Whites are right to be wary of blacks
If you were shown a picture of a black person and a white person and asked 'who do you trust more,' your actual answer may be very different from the one in your unconscious mind, a study has revealed.
Researchers found that deciding who we trust - especially with our money - may be influenced more by subconscious racial biases that many of us would be horrified to admit.
'We strive as a culture to not let race bias be a significant factor in the way we choose to do things and on an individual level, we all assume that our beliefs reflect our actions, but we have to be aware of the fact that this won't always be the case,' Elizabeth Phelps, a psychologist at New York University and co-author of the study, told ABC News.
Researchers measured implied and expressed racial bias among 50 racially diverse participants using an Implicit Association Test (IAT) and questionnaires. They then asked participants to rate the 'trustworthiness' of nearly 300 faces of people from many races (although the scores for blacks and whites were used in the analysis).
Participants then played a trust-based economic reward game. Overall, if they showed an unconscious bias toward white people, they were more likely to say they trust whites more when asked - and more likely to risk more money. The same bias showed up in the minority of participants that showed a bias towards black people.
'Despite study after study showing that implicit bias exists, it's still something that a lot of people don't internalise within their own lives and behaviour,' Leslie Hausmann, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, told ABC. 'There's a reluctance to admit that in our day-to-day lives, we have this and it matters,' she added.
Although researchers said the study was not 'overwhelming evidence for racism' when they measured this kind of subconscious prejudice in doctors treating minorities, the doctors were shocked to discover their unconscious bias affected what medications they prescribed to different races.
'Humans have always struggled with this: am I leading my daily life in such a way that my behaviour lines up with the values I have?' said Mahzarin Banaji, a co-author and psychologist at Harvard University. 'Acknowledging this bias is part of bringing our behaviour in line with intentions.'
British Farmer menaced with death threats by gang of gypsies dials emergency number... and police turn up to confiscate her shotguns
Having confronted travellers cutting down trees on her farm, terminally-ill Tracy St Clair Pearce found herself subjected to a terrifying ordeal. Some of the group pelted her with rocks while a youth threatened to slit her throat and slaughter her cattle.
When she dialled 999 she expected the full weight of the law to be on her side. Instead, however, police officers criticised her for inflaming the situation and confiscated her legally held shotguns – even though they had been locked away in a cabinet at home throughout the incident.
Yesterday, the 50-year-old accused police of causing her ‘harassment and distress’ when she should have been given protection. ‘I’ve been treated like a criminal,’ said Miss St Clair Pearce, who has been given months to live after breast cancer spread to her spine.
The incident blew up after around 18 caravans set up camp illegally in a field owned by Colchester Council last Thursday.
Miss St Clair Pearce, who lives on the adjoining Seven Saints Rare Breeds farm with her brother, Stuart, had a good-natured conversation with one traveller who assured her they would be no trouble and would move on within a couple of days.
But at 7pm on Good Friday she was spraying weeds on the 34-acre farm, where she has ten rare Shetland cattle and three horses, when she heard a chainsaw and found four boys felling trees for firewood.
‘I started shouting “Get out” but they just stood there in my field,’ she said. ‘I said I would spray them with the weed killer and one in a red T-shirt, who was about 14, went ballistic. The language coming out of his mouth was unbelievable.
‘I had a short-bladed knife in my hand for the weed removal and he took that as a challenge. He picked up a fence post and hurled it at me. He then screamed “I will slit your throat, I will slit the throats of your calves and cows”. We were face to face and he slid his finger across his throat.’
Miss St Clair Pearce stood her ground and the youth retreated across the brook that marks the border of her land but by this time several traveller men and a woman had come over.
One was the boy’s father, who used ‘sexually explicit language’ before turning away when asked if he was proud of his son. ‘About eight people were still there and they exposed themselves to me, front and back. Then they started throwing rocks at me so I backed off,’ added Miss St Clair Pearce.
Shaken by the confrontation, she called police and waited 35 minutes for a patrol car to arrive before spending three hours giving a statement. An inspector arrived at 11.30pm but questioned her own conduct, accusing her of making threats against the travellers. ‘They said I had been aggressive, the chainsaw was of no consequence, and I should have politely asked them to remove themselves from my premises then walked away and called 999,’ said Miss St Clair Pearce.
Officers eventually visited the camp that evening and the following morning but told her they were unable to find the teenager who had threatened her.
On Easter Monday she was at a dog show when she received a call from Colchester councillor Gerard Oxford, whom she had contacted for advice, and was told police wanted to confiscate her two shotguns.
She refused to start the two-hour journey home immediately and officers began turning up at the farmhouse ‘every couple of hours’ in an attempt to seize the legally held shotguns. At 3.15am yesterday armed officers appeared and demanded the firearms otherwise they would ‘pull the cabinet from the wall’. Left with no choice, Miss St Clair Pearce told her brother where she kept the key and he handed the weapons over. Officers returned later yesterday and confiscated her gun licence to ‘prevent me buying another shotgun’.
Her brother said: ‘I am in shock. I thought the laws in this country protected people who live and work in their communities – not those who visit for a short time and think they are beyond the law.’
The travellers refused to comment when approached yesterday.
Mr Oxford said: ‘The way Tracy has been treated has been quite appalling. It was quite evident the officers were putting more weight on making sure that the travellers were ok than the threats which had been made to Tracy’s life.’
Essex police confirmed they had not yet arrested anyone in connection with the incident. A spokesman said: ‘Officers became concerned at the behaviour of a woman and laid information before magistrates accordingly. ‘They were given powers to seize guns in her possession and have done so as a sensible precaution in the circumstances.’ [No chance for the woman to have her say before the magistrates, of course. Natural justice is extinct in England]
Elf n' safety madness: Postmen banned from crossing road in quiet British village with few passing cars
Postmen have been banned from crossing the road in a quiet village with hardly any passing traffic – for ‘elf and safety reasons. Workers have been told to go all the way down one side of the road before coming back on the other - to minimise crossing.
Residents insist the roads in quaint Goodworth Clatford, near Andover, Hampshire, are so quiet they are happy for even children to cross unattended.
Bosses brought in the new rule to minimise risk but villagers claim deliveries are arriving up to two hours later because of the changes.
The only time that the roads get busy are when parents drop off and collect their children from school, residents claim. They say the traffic is long gone by the time postmen 'amble up the drive at midday'.
Royal Mail workers have apparently complained that they are struggling to deliver to every house in the village because they are spending so much longer making deliveries.
Councillor David Drew, who is a member of both Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council, said the new instructions issued earlier this month were ‘bizarre’. ‘The postmistress gave me the heads up that the postal dispatch system was due to be tweaked – and suddenly the post started to come a couple of hours later,’ he said.
‘I was told the postmen have to go down one side of the road and up the other for health and safety reasons. ‘The workers are fairly upset because it’s taking a lot longer to do their rounds and apparently some people have had their houses missed off completely. ‘They are grown adults and are big enough to decide for themselves whether it is safe to cross the road.
‘Goodworth Clatford is a quiet village and it is perfectly safe for children to cross the road providing they are old enough and sensible enough. ‘Common sense has been taken away by health and safety again’.
Bernard Griffiths, chairman of Abbotts Ann Parish Council, claimed some people in the village had not received mail on two occasions because of the new rule.
‘The postmen are under instruction to deliver what they can and if they cannot do it in the time take it back. I am outraged at this. I am livid. I hope somebody’s head will roll over this.’
The Royal Mail yesterday said ‘Delivery routes are planned to be completed as efficiently and safely as possible which in the majority of cases is to deliver to one side before crossing to return along the opposite side.’
And in a further twist nearly all postmen’s bicycles will disappear in the next few months. ‘We are bringing in new equipment which will reduce the number of bikes we have. We will just retain a small number of them,’ added the spokesman.
Dissatisfaction that it was a homosexual judge who disallowed homosexual marriage ban
Backers of California's ban on same-sex marriage have moved to wipe out a court ruling last year that declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional, saying the federal judge who heard the case should have stepped aside because he has been in a long-term same-sex relationship.
Proposition 8 was a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008 state elections that said only marriage between a man and a woman is recognised in California.
Its supporters argue in court papers that the former chief US district judge Vaughn Walker had a presumed bias in the case because he could have benefited from gaining the legal right to marry his partner.
Mr Walker, who has retired from the bench, has never concealed the fact he is gay and it has been well known in Bay Area legal circles, but he never discussed the issue publicly until a meeting with reporters last month in his San Francisco office before he left the bench.
He said he never considered taking himself off the case, as he felt his sexual orientation should not be a factor in presiding over the legal challenge to the gay marriage ban.
Legal experts labelled the move a long shot that was no different to trying to bump a female judge off a gender discrimination case or a black judge from a racial bias lawsuit. "It frankly sounds like an act of desperation," Rory Little, who teaches at Hastings College of the Law, said. "Their position is shot through with illogical jumps."
Last year the judge struck down Proposition 8, concluding that it violates the federal equal protection rights of California's same-sex couples.
The ruling is on appeal in both the US Circuit Court of Appeals and California Supreme Court. The state court is considering whether Proposition 8 supporters even have a legal right to defend the law when the state's top officials refuse to do so.
Proposition 8 supporters say the judge's acknowledged long-term relationship with a doctor should have been disclosed before the hearing because he might have a personal interest in the right to marry.
The issue will first be considered in July by the judge's replacement, Chief Judge James Ware, who has inherited further proceedings in the Proposition 8 case.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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