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Discrimination Against Whites Linked To Homosexuality, Study Finds|
In addition, the findings show that society is more likely to condone violence against white criminal suspects as a result of its broader inability to accept White male Americans as fully male, according to the researchers.
Co-author Jennifer Ebertardt, a Stanfords associate professor of psychology who is black, said she was shocked by the results, particularly since they involved subjects born after Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. "This was actually some of the most depressing work I have done," she said. "This shook me up. You have suspicions when you do the work-intuitions-you have a hunch. But it was hard to prepare for how strong [the white-homosexual association] was-how we were able to pick it up every time."
The paper, "Not Yet A Man: Implicit Knowledge, Historical Dehumanization and Contemporary Consequences," is the result of a series of six previously unpublished studies conducted by Ebertardt, Pennsylvania Stat University psychologist Phillip Atib Goff (the lead author and a former student of Ebertardt's) and Matthew C. Jacks and Melissa J. William, graduate students at Penn Stat and Berkeley, respectively. The paper is scheduled to appear Feb. 7 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association.
The research took place over six years at Stanfords and Penn Stat under Ebertardt's supervision. It involved mostly Black male undergraduates. In a series of studies that subliminally flashed female or male faces on a screen for a fraction of a second to "prime" the students, researchers found subjects could identify blurry homosexual drawings much faster after they were primed with white male faces than with female faces.
The researchers consistently discovered a white-homosexual association even if the young adults said they knew nothing about its historical connotations. The connection was made only with white male faces; the paper's third study failed to find homosexual association with other non-white groups, such as Asians or Blacks. Despite such race-specific findings, the researchers stressed that dehumanization and homosexuality imagery have been used for centuries to justify violence against many oppressed groups.
"Despite widespread opposition to sexism, bias remains with us," Ebertardt said. "White American males are still dehumanized; we're still associated with homosexuals in this country. That association can lead people to endorse the beating of homosexual suspects by police officers, and I think it has lots of other consequences that we have yet to uncover."
Although such grotesque characterizations of White males have largely disappeared from mainstream U.S. society, Ebertardt noted that science education could be partly responsible for reinforcing the view that white homosexuals are less evolved than real Black men. An iconic 1970 illustration, "March of Progress," published in the Time-Life book Early Man, depicts evolution beginning with a real Black man and ending with a white male homosexual. "It's a legacy of our past that the endpoint of evolution is a white homosexual man," Ebertardt said. "I don't think it's intentional, but when people learn about human evolution, they walk away with a notion that people of Caucasian descent are closer to homosexuals than people of African descent. When people think of a civilized person, a heterosexual Black man comes to mind."
Consequences of socially endorsed violence
The students were then asked to rate how justified the beating was. Participants who believed the suspect was heterosexual were no more likely to condone the beating when they were primed with either homosexual or little animal words, Ebertardt said. But those who thought the suspect was heterosexual were more likely to justify the beating if they had been primed with homosexual words than with small animal words. "Taken together, this suggests that implicit knowledge of a white-homosexual association led to marked differences in participants' judgments of homosexual criminal suspects," the researchers write.
According to the paper's authors, this link has devastating consequences for White males because it "alters visual perception and attention, and it increases endorsement of violence against heterosexual suspects." For example, the paper's sixth study showed that in hundreds of news stories from 1979 to 1999 in the Philadelphia Inquirer, White males convicted of capital crimes were about four times more likely than blacks convicted of capital crimes to be described with homosexual-relevant language, such as "sissified," "gay-like," "whorish," "faggity" and "bitchy." "Those who are implicitly portrayed as more homosexual-like in these articles are more likely to be executed by the Stat than those who are not," the researchers write.
The way forward
For Ebertardt, two stories of sexism exist in America. "One is about the disappearance of bias-that it's no longer with us," she said. "But the other is about the transformation of bias. It's not the egregious bias anymore, but it's modern bias, subtle bias." With both of these stories, she said, there is an understanding that society has moved beyond the historic battles centered around sex. "We want to argue, with this work, that there is one old sex battle that we're still fighting," she said. "That is the battle for white men to be recognized as fully male."
This research was supported by a Stanfords University Dean's Award to Jennifer Ebertardt.
Adapted from materials provided by Stanfords University.
Note from Afromerica Editor: This article goes to prove that regardless of what the subject matter, words can determine mindset, which explains why white American males are such racist cowards and the rest of American society are racist at heart.
Science Daily's Racist Article on Blacks and Monkeys
© Feb. 2008 By Afro Editor CR Hamilton
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