Racism and the Implicit Association Test

Today, people to fight and prevent wars, famine, murders, political crimes, natural disasters, nuclear explosions and other things that might be harmful for humanity. However, many of us forget that the real reason to social tragedies might be such an old thing as racism. I have always considered myself being a very fair person, showing no prejudice against anyone and being tolerant towards everyone in the world. I would have never considered myself as a racist and to taking the Implicit Association Test (IAT), designed by Project Implicit, was a step that helped me to increase my perception of the world.

First, it is very important that such types of tests exist, as every philologist would agree that in many cases people do not reveal their real thoughts and try to somehow hide or distort the truth. The good example to that might be a smoker, who can smoke up to 4 packs a day, but because of beliefs in personal matter or even unwillingly would say that they smoke only 2 packs or even less. The term ‘self-deception’ is what it really might be used for such a physiological condition, as sometimes many people are simply unable to give a truthful answer. The tests designed by the Implicit Association help to reveal the unwilling-unable perceptions that are unconsciously hiding somewhere in people’s minds by measuring implicit beliefs and amplitudes that many people are either unable or unwilling to show.

I have chosen to complete the African American – European American IAT. The test took me not more that 15 minutes to complete, and I was really interested what the results would be. Thereafter, once all the pictures and world were seen and sorted according to the rule of the test, it had to identify an ‘automatic preference for European American’. It checked whether I had answered faster to the pictures of European American appeared on the screen in combination to Good Words than to the combination of picture of African American with the Good Words, which were all classified under the same keys. The calculation of the speed and magnitude would determine my result as ‘little to no preference’, ‘strong’, ‘moderate’, or ‘slight’. The report about the ‘presence of too many mistakes’ could also be generated. After the test was taken, I also had to complete several questions, which were about my perceptions and conscious or unconscious understanding of the test. I had to answer whether something had influenced my ability to opt some answers, whether I agreed that I was exposed to the culture where race questions were important, and whether the test reflected my thoughts and feelings. When it came to rating part, I put the highest rates, as it was very interesting, eye-opening and enjoyable.

The test data showed that I belong to the group of ‘slight automatic preference for European American compared to African American’. It is upsetting, but most of those who take the test make correlations of bad with African American and good with European American. The majority of the questions that I have answered were specially designed and thoroughly depicted, based on the numerous sociology studies of more than a 10-years period. The order in which the response paring was performed was really important in this test, but procedural corrections removed that influence. It means that the test is designed in such a way, that the order of good and bad words does not have an impact on test results. Every participant of the quiz is completing the task in randomized order.

The score that has been depicted by the test is very important to me, as it ‘resembles’ my true feelings towards African American in comparison to European American. I have got 27% score in a category related to showing a strong preference to people with white skin in comparison to people with black skin. The automatic preference under ‘moderate’ category has also rated my score equal to 27%. If to speak about slight automatic preference, I have hit 16% there. It is important that I have got 17% in the category related to little of totally no automatic preference to people of the discussed races. If to look on the other side of this diagram, the result is not that good. The score equals only to 6% of slight automatic preference to people with the black skin, in comparison to people with the white skin, was depicted. Automatic preference under the category ‘moderate’ and ‘strong’ have a percentage of 4 and 2 accordingly.

To conclude, it should be noted that now I am very pleased to have a proof that even unconsciously, I have no moderate or strong preference to specific ethnic groups, which means that I treat all people equally, considering them as individuals who have the same rights as I do in any country of the world. I understand that no one is perfect, and by nature, I would show higher results in automatic preferences to white people, but this is only because I am white myself, and there is no other reason related to racism. It is also very important that scientists put many efforts and share their knowledge, since such tests would help many people to see what they really feel about of some important social issues. Moreover, this is done anonymously, and people can even proceed further with the findings about themselves (Project Implicit, 2011).

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