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Study: Hard Times Can Make People More Racist

Posted by on Jun. 12, 2014 at 2:27 PM
  • 24 Replies

When the going gets tough, the tough get... prejudiced

People perceive race differently during an economic downturn, a recent study suggests, and become subconsciously more prejudiced against dark-skinned people when times are tight.

Researchers at New York University discovered that people with lighter skin were more likely to perceive Afrocentric features as more pronounced or “darker” during an economic downturn.

That kind of perception is likely to increase discrimination against people of color, the researchers found.

“Our research reveals that perceived scarcity influences people’s visual representations of race in a way that may promote discrimination,” the authors note, in an upcoming issue of theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America journal.

In a series of four studies, participants were asked to identify whether select images depicted black people or white people, while researchers manipulated select economic conditions.

In one study, participants were first asked to express agreement or disagreement with “zero-sum” beliefs like “When blacks make economic gains, whites lose out economically,” and then asked to identify the race of the people featured in 110 images—people whose skin color varied greatly.

The study’s results showed that those with stronger “zero sum” beliefs were more likely to consider the images of mixed-face subjects as “blacker” than they actually were.

New York University researchers Amy Krosch, a doctoral student, and psychology professor David Amodio found similar results when participants were asked to identify whether someone was black or white after being shown words related to scarcity like “limited” and “resource.”

The remaining studies threw economics into the mix—asking subjects how they would divide $15 between people represented by two images— and not only were images of darker-skinned people deemed “blacker” than they actually were relative to the average skin color, they were allocated fewer funds.

Economic scarcity, the researchers note, has been proven to influence how people treat those outside of their own social groups in previous studies. But with the economy still recovering from the detrimental recession of 2008-9—which had a more adverse effect on blacks than whites—the findings suggest that institutional inequality may not be the only culprit, but also individual prejudices toward racial minorities.

http://time.com/2850595/race-economy/

by on Jun. 12, 2014 at 2:27 PM
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Replies (1-10):
stormcris
by Christy on Jun. 12, 2014 at 3:08 PM
3 moms liked this

I could see that being true. It also makes them clannish (not that Klan) and isolationist.

Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Jun. 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM
3 moms liked this
There must be a few cm members who've fallen on hard times.
jllcali
by Jane on Jun. 12, 2014 at 3:12 PM
It's not surprising.
skrbelly
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 6:51 AM
Hahaha, ya think? So true

Quoting Momniscient: There must be a few cm members who've fallen on hard times.
Seasidegirl
by Gold Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 6:59 AM

I totally believe this. I have witnessed a family member who has done extremely well in life become a raving/raging lunatic about minorities and immigrants (immigrants are great scapegoatsl) since the economic downturn. It isn't because this person is hurting financially -- but she and her husband feel less stable financially. Less stable = maybe they worry that they can't afford the 2nd boat. Or they couldn't replace the wrecked Mercedes.

So, her Facebook rants are about immigrants coming here to spread disease (oh yea) and how Puerto Ricans are trying to get statehood because they want to mooch (even more). I shudder to think what she says about black people. Maybe she feels Hispanics are a more acceptable target in public -- yea, the whole immigrant thing.

It's so odd -- I have  a lot less money and fewer possessions, and I count my blessings every day. I am grateful for what I have and find the cash to give to charities, including those helping immigrants -- even the illegal ones. shhhhh!

shh

Shameful.

 

Seasidegirl
by Gold Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 7:00 AM

 

Quoting Momniscient: There must be a few cm members who've fallen on hard times.

 REAL hard times! 

wiping_her_brow

Not my circus; not my monkeys - Polish proverb

LDavis33
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 8:42 AM

I can see how this could happen.

I know a lot of people who have fallen on hard times, financially speaking.  And the majority of them react with anger, and look to blame others for their situation.  Some blame the government, or big business, or their parents and some blame immigrants or foreign workers or minorities in general.  I think that if you already have these ideas floating around in your head, falling on hard times can serve as a catalyst for magnifying those angry, hateful thoughts (prejudices).  

It's a sad situation. 

rsmom2511
by Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 9:57 AM
This is how Hitler was able to rise to his powerful position. Everyone needs someone else to blame....sad.

snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM
2 moms liked this

I think hard times make people more resentful and less tolerant and understanding then when things are going well.  A lot of people just need someone to blame when they feel out of control of their situation

lancet98
by Silver Member on Jun. 14, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Yeah, but the expression of prejudice is over 50% in most surveys in GOOD TIMES, so an 'increase' isn't from 'no racism' to 'racism', it's from bad to worse.

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