The “hidden biases” survey

Posted by: ST on January 31, 2006 at 9:53 am

Yesterday in the thread I started about Rep. J.D. Hayworth’s (R-AZ-5th district) marvelous opinion piece on multiculturalism and assimilation, the comments section of that post got sidetracked when a commenter attacked the motivations and character of those who agreed with Hayworth’s observations by saying such talk was usually only an attempt to pander to the ‘racist element’ within the Republican party. As proof of such ‘elements’, the commenter referenced a ‘study’ which was reported by the Washington Post yesterday that supposedly linked political leanings to ‘hidden biases.’ The key part of the ‘study’ in question:

Another study presented at the conference, which was in Palm Springs, Calif., explored relationships between racial bias and political affiliation by analyzing self-reported beliefs, voting patterns and the results of psychological tests that measure implicit attitudes — subtle stereotypes people hold about various groups.

That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.

My response to the citing of this ‘study’ was:

If you think talk of assimiliation has to do with racism, you better think again, pal. Why is it everytime a Republican talks about anything having to do with race you guys start playing the race card? Answer: you need the votes. 92% of black people who voted for Democrats in the last election. You guys are already having a hard time winning elections as it is so anything you can do to keep the black vote stays on the table – including rampant race baiting where prominent Democrats like Charlie Rangel demagogue the hell out of racial issues while the party heads like Howard Dean let it pass without much, if any comment. Yet when a Republican even mentions the word black, there are calls from people like Howard Dean for “apologies” and the like and nine times out of ten Republicans will bend over backwards to make sure the black community knows they weren’t trying to be racist with whatever the offending comment might have been.

So don’t come here to this blog, and think you’ve got a leg up on anyone on the race issue because of a stupid survey – you might want to take a look at your own backyard before you start messing in someone else’s. Republicans have worked hard over the years to erase their image as a party of racists, yet the black Democrats in your party continue to get away with it because no one will call them on it.

Honest discussions in this country on racism and immigration are hard to have thanks to people like you, who want to perpetuate the myth that the Republican party is full of little more than Sheets Byrd types. Get a clue!

The whole discussion on assimilation was sidetracked by the discussion of racism in each party by that point (as of this writing, there are 86 comments in that thread on the issue), and I had planned on doing a full post about that ‘study’ this morning as a followup – until I read the post Dafydd at Big Lizards wrote about this ‘study.’ He’s dissected it brilliantly – I mean, just demolished it. Consider that post a must-read.

Oh, and about the scientists who conducted this ‘study’? They have their own political biases which the Washington Post left out (mistakenly I’m sure :> ). Michelle Malkin has the breakdown of their political contributions. Hint: they contributed to Democrats.

Surprise surprise.

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40 Responses to “The “hidden biases” survey”

Comments

  1. Baklava says:

    Smack !

    =d> Great work !

  2. steve says:

    What is a racist? Peace

  3. CSM says:

    Comment by steve…”What is a racist?”

    The Mayor of New Orleans

  4. PCD says:

    CSM, you could have added Jesse Jackson, Jr and Sr, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson Lee, Louis Fharakhan, Diane Watson, Charlie Rangel, The late Patsy Mink,…

  5. steve says:

    So, to all you white folk, all the black folks are racist? Peace

  6. Derrick says:

    I’m still looking for that brilliant dissection.

    Or could it be that when blacks learn that a Caucasian is a Republican, they direct such a torrent of hate and racial bigotry towards him that they virtually guarantee that he won’t be able to associate his tormenters with “positive concepts?”

    Yes, because Republicans or Conservatives had such a high regard for black people before Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (can’t forget them) started “RACE BAITING”. And yes Lincoln freed the slaves (over 100 years ago) and Republicans helped puch through some early civil rights legislation (the party wasn’t had a completely different makeup at the time). Just wanted to get that out of the way.

    If you read the entire study, you would see one of the larger issues is how people discount negative information about themselves or their affiliaties at all cost. The results of this study are no surprise. It doesn’t say that all Republicans are racist, which I definetely don’t believe. Only that you have a much more negative association with black people. Look at your party. The reason that their aren’t more black faces in the Republican party is not because black people are stupid, or the Democrats bought them off with some Social programs, or some other silly argument. The reason is that blacks in general find the Democratic party less hostile to their issues and concerns and much more welcoming. JC Watts was the leading black Republican for a time period, and read his accounts of being black in the Republican party. He didn’t feel that welcome and he was one of your leaders.

  7. PCD says:

    steve are you thinking you are going to get away with that smear in reponse to what I said? Wrong! Not all Blacks are racist. You want to point out from my list show isn’t a racist?

  8. PCD says:

    Derrick, Name a Black Democrat Lt. Governor. Name any Black Democrat candidate for Statewide office in Iowa. When the rubber meets the road, Derrick, the Democrats do not give more than lip service to blacks.

  9. andrew says:

    “He’s dissected it brilliantly – I mean, just demolished it. ”

    Not really. He starts by talking about the ‘error of predetermined causality.’ The study mentioned nothing of causality, only correlation.

    Then he makes some weird points that replubicans may be hating blacks because blacks vote democrat, or say bad things about caucasian republicans. Just weird. And rather tangential to the idea of implicit bias being there.

    He also looks like he hasn’t read much about the study. implict.harvard.edu is where you can read about it.

  10. thatniceguy says:

    From the post:

    “…is it really a racist reaction for someone to have a hard time associating various “positive concepts” with blacks, given the recent history?”

    The answer is yes. That’s pretty much the definition of racism. He’s just attempting to rationalize it.

    “Dissected it brilliantly”? Actually, I’d say he does nothing but prove the point of the study’s authors.

  11. thatniceguy quoting the post: “…is it really a racist reaction for someone to have a hard time associating various “positive concepts” with blacks, given the recent history?”

    The answer is yes. That’s pretty much the definition of racism. He’s just attempting to rationalize it.

    ST: Um, no. That’s not the definition of racism:

    1.The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.

    2.Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

    tng: “Dissected it brilliantly”? Actually, I’d say he does nothing but prove the point of the study’s authors.

    ST: And I’d say you haven’t proved anything.

  12. andrew says:

    “ST: And I’d say you haven’t proved anything.

    What was dissected, and what was brilliant about that?

  13. thatniceguy says:

    ST, you are precisely right. What you have provided is the dictionary definition of racism.

    But, of course, I wasn’t implying that if you looked up racism in the dictionary, you’d find that quote.

    Rather, the sentiment exemplified by that quote is racist, as indicated by the definition you’ve provided for us.

  14. “Rather, the sentiment exemplified by that quote is racist, as indicated by the definition you’ve provided for us.”

    No, it wasn’t “as indicated” by anything I posted. You’ve proved exactly nothing, outside of letting us know how you’ll work to twist the definition of something into something it’s not. I suppose it’s because you want to validate your own preconceived biases towards Republicans.

  15. thatniceguy says:

    In the sentences preceding that quote, the author named instances of black leaders and other blacks who do things he characterized as not good.

    He then questioned whether it was racist for someone to “have a hard time associating various “positive concepts” with blacks” as a result.

    He took the actions of a few blacks and suggested that it was ok to characterize all blacks accordingly.

    By (at least) part 2 of the definition you posted (prejudice), that would count as racism.

    His words. Dictionary’s definiton. No “twisting” or other action was required on my part and I have spoken only regarding the author, not Republicans in general.

  16. Then you have a warped interpretation of the definition of racism, tng.

  17. Derrick: “JC Watts was the leading black Republican for a time period, and read his accounts of being black in the Republican party. He didn’t feel that welcome and he was one of your leaders. ”

    ST: Then we must have read a different book because I don’t recall him saying any such thing. He rec’d a fair amount of hosility from black Democrats, however.

  18. steve says:

    All I know(well, it’s not really all I know) is that in the 60’s after passing the Civil Rights Act almost all southern Democrats became Republicans. Most of those “converts” were racists and that was the Republican Strategy that Mellman apoligized for a few months back. Far as we know all those racist remain in the Republican Party. That’s probably why the racist tag remains with the Republicans. They can now add greed, corruption and cronyism to that tag. I almost forgot incompetent too. Peace

  19. steve, I really cannot take anything you say seriously here, after reading the things you’ve posted in the past. That hasn’t changed with your latest post, either.

  20. thatniceguy says:

    ST: “Then you have a warped interpretation of the definition of racism”

    I think the correlation I drew in my last post is pretty clear. Can you please explain specifically how it is not?

  21. “I think the correlation I drew in my last post is pretty clear. Can you please explain specifically how it is not? ”

    No and as a result, no.

  22. thatniceguy says:

    “No and as a result, no.”

    I understand.

  23. thatniceguy says:

    Returning to the original post (and not accusing anyone here)…

    The problem with the author’s rationale is that it lies at the very heart of racism. He cites examples like the afore-quoted and others:

    “It’s like showing pictures of Arab faces to Israeli Jews and concluding that the latter must be racially prejudiced, because they have a hard time associating “positive concepts” with Achmed, Ramzi, and Mohammed.”

    Of course they are racially prejudiced if they automatically view pictures of random Arabs negatively. He does not account for the fact that the “Arab faces” are those of individuals and could’ve been those of people who died saving the life of the Israeli’s loved one in an emergency.

    He suggests that it’s ok, and even rational, for people to hold negative sentiment toward other ethnic groups on sight, based on the actions of others in that group.

    This propagates hate and gives rise to the most insidious form of racism. It gives license and comfort to the worst tendencies in humankind. And it disarms our God-given human conscience, which might otherwise give us pause when tempted to pre-judge and discriminate.

    We cannot even allow the illusion of justfication for hate, prejudice and discrimination. If we don’t identify and debunk such garbage immediately, giving it no quarter, we’ll be doomed to forever continue this cycle.

    That’s why I posted.

  24. andrew says:

    “Oh, and about the scientists who conducted this ‘study’? They have their own political biases which the Washington Post left out (mistakenly I’m sure :> ). Michelle Malkin has the breakdown of their political contributions. Hint: they contributed to Democrats.”

    Why do their political views matter?

  25. PCD says:

    andrew, their political views matter when they insert them into every article they write and demonstrate the bias they operate under by omitting things that don’t agree or destroy their politically held positions, just like you.

  26. andrew says:

    “andrew, their political views matter when they insert them into every article they write and demonstrate the bias they operate under by omitting things that don’t agree or destroy their politically held positions, just like you.”

    Did they do that? They just ran some correlations on data.

  27. PCD says:

    andrew, every day.

  28. andrew says:

    “ndrew, every day.”

    Which of their articles have their political views in them? Every one? Can you list a few and show me how?

  29. PCD says:

    andrew, if you weren’t such a tool of the left, I’d be asking you what you don’t see.

    Case in point, local paper has article of local reacton to the SOTU on top of front page. Only picture is that of the local Democrat Central Committee chairman. No GOP officials pictured. Only democrats are written about on front page. After the jump, then 1 very junior level Republican is written about and his views questioned by the reporter where as all the democrats’ views were reported unchallenged and unedited.

  30. andrew says:

    “Case in point, local paper has article of local reacton to the SOTU on top of front page. Only picture is that of the local Democrat Central Committee chairman. No GOP officials pictured. Only democrats are written about on front page. After the jump, then 1 very junior level Republican is written about and his views questioned by the reporter where as all the democrats’ views were reported unchallenged and unedited.”

    were you talking about the political views of the washington post or the political views of the scientists?

    I’m talking about the scientists. Why do their views matter? they just ran correlations on data.

  31. Severian says:

    Andrew, if you think the political views of scientists don’t matter, you’re sadly mistaken. Scientists are no different than anyone else, errors and biases can creep in either deliberately or unconciously. And bias is even more prevalent in the “soft” sciences (which shouldn’t even be called science IMO) like psychology or sociology. The order in which the data is presented to individuals can have an effect, as can the observers interpretation of results (hmmm…did that grimace mean he doesn’t like black people, or that he had a bad bean burrito for lunch?).

    The study in question has not been peer reviewed, nor do I think it would pass an honest peer review. In case you don’t know, peer review is not an ideological litmus test, at least it’s not supposed to be. It’s a review of the basic scientific methodology and an examination of the mathematics/statistical analysis used, to make sure there are no errors, and that the experiment is repeatable.

    Scientists lie and distort all the time, sad to say. I was taught that this is tantamount to original sin when I was in school, but sadly more and more scientists are doing it to get funding, make a point, support an idea they believe in.

  32. PCD says:

    The “scientists” views do matter. As they ignore facts that don’t jibe with their theory, they produce a skewed, cooked product, just like the “journalists”.

  33. andrew says:

    ” As they ignore facts that don’t jibe with their theory, they produce a skewed, cooked product, just like the “journalists”.”

    What facts did they ignore? And what is their ‘theory’? As far as I saw, there was no theory, just correlations.

  34. Severian says:

    Geez, andrew, are you THAT naive?

    Let me postulate an example. I want to “prove” that conservatives are biased against minorities. I skew the dataset so that conservatives are given pictures of aggressive looking minorities, while liberals are given pictures that are calm and smiling. That’s one way to skew data.

    The study does not give even remotely enough information about their methodology and data sets to allow anyone to tell whether or not there was pollution of the dataset, or misanalysis of the result, which in itself says something. Quite often, lack of information means that that info will tell you something the study proponents don’t want you to know.

  35. andrew says:

    “I skew the dataset so that conservatives are given pictures of aggressive looking minorities, while liberals are given pictures that are calm and smiling. That’s one way to skew data.”

    They could just be making everything up. But you think they skewed the data?

    “The study does not give even remotely enough information about their methodology and data sets to allow anyone to tell whether or not there was pollution of the dataset, or misanalysis of the result, which in itself says something. ”

    You can read about their methodology at http://implicit.harvard.edu They also there link to their published papers. This study is currently unpublished.

  36. Severian says:

    Andrew, I looked at that site, and it’s not evident that the study mentioned in the article was performed the same way, however I have noticed things that don’t make me comfortable.

    I looked at the survey regarding race and guns or other dangerous weapons. The experiment shows you pictures, and asks you to select one choice or the other, quickly, in response to the photos. One item I found was that, the way the sequence was setup, when the task was to select non-threatening and blacks, the ordering was changed from the previous two of the four test sequences. What this leads to is that, as might be expected, the first time the ordering was changed, there is a tendency to automatically push the same key you used for the previous two tests, even though that was “wrong.” It was easy to automatically press the wrong key, which in this case leads to the impression that one associates dangerous items with blacks more than with whites.

    This was only one test, but in order to take it you had to identify a political affiliation, which may have impacted the order and precedence of the data.

    Right now, I’m dubious at best. Plus, psychological and sociological testing relies on so many assumptions and is based on such fuzzy, difficult to quantify metrics, it’s almost impossible to take most of it seriously. Within the realm of the “hard” sciences, the sociologists and psychologists are not that well respected.

    Be aware that skewing data doesn’t have to be deliberate, the same subconscious bias they are looking for can, and often does, easily influence the researcher.

  37. PCD says:

    andrew, you mean unpublished and not gone through peer review. In other words, it was leaked before the flaws were found and the study discredited within the academic community.

  38. andrew says:

    “andrew, you mean unpublished and not gone through peer review. In other words, it was leaked before the flaws were found and the study discredited within the academic community.”

    It wasn’t ‘leaked,’ but presented at a conference, according to both the post article and the snippet that the blog post included.

    I read another link that said they had not yet submitted this study to peer review, but like their others ones, will do so. I can’t find that link now.