It must be almost election time and, presumably, the president’s numbers must not be looking all that spectacular. How can you tell? Well, among various factors, the Associated Press has released yet another in their long series of heralded, highly respected studies detailing precisely what a bunch of racists you all are if you’re considering voting for anyone other than Barack Obama. Only this one comes with a twist. The helpful people constructing the poll, worried that you might be living in some sort of state of denial, will help ferret out your racist feelings even if you can’t recognize them yourself. (emphasis mine)
Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.
Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some people’s more favorable views of blacks.
How, you may be wondering, do they perform this miraculous feat? Why, it’s through the wonders of technology! You see, there’s a difference between “explicit racism” and “implicit racism” among Americans. For the “explicit racism” test, they just asked people how well certain words described various racial groups. These included things like, “friendly,” “hardworking,” “violent” and “lazy.”
But just in case you saw through that clever trick, they’ll still manage to get you sorted out with a test for “implicit” feelings.
The same respondents were also administered a survey designed to measure implicit racism, in which a photo of a black, Hispanic or white male flashed on the screen before a neutral image of a Chinese character. The respondents were then asked to rate their feelings toward the Chinese character. Previous research has shown that people transfer their feelings about the photo onto the character, allowing researchers to measure racist feelings even if a respondent does not acknowledge them.
Their results? There’s plenty of explicit racism to go around, but when you roll in the implicit kind, more than half of the white people in America are racists. So, if Obama loses next week, now you know why.