I’d like you to take a quick online test that is one way to assess whether a person is racially biased.
Researchers at Harvard University have come up with a very interesting way of testing people’s implicit prejudices.(A prejudice, as you now know, is a belief we have about a person based on a social category they belong to, such as their race, rather than on actual information about the person. An implicit prejudice is a prejudice that we are not aware of having–and implicit prejudices are very important, because they affect how we interact with others even though we don’t know we have them!)
As we study racism, prejudice, and discrimination, I’d like you to learn a bit about this test and to try it out on yourself.
Taking and Learning about the Test:
First, go to Project Implicit’s website: http://implicit.harvard.edu (this link opens in a new window). Before you go further, read through all these instructions so that you know what’s coming for the assignment overall.
Once you’re done reading the assignment instructions, go to the website:
- Under Project Implicit Social Attitudes, enter the website as a Guest by selecting the Go! Button next to the US flag.
- Read the Preliminary Information provided under Take a Test. Read this page; it should help you better understand a little bit about what the test is measuring. (You’ll read more about it after you’ve actually tried the test yourself.)
- Now, click the I Wish to Proceed link. [Note: If you are not willing to take this test, please contact me for an alternative assignment.]
- You will now see a list of the IATs available. (I encourage you to try some others that you find interesting after you’ve done this assignment!) For now, click on the Race IAT button. Read this page and make any necessary changes to your computer settings.
- When you’re all ready, click the Click Here to Begin link.
- After you click this link, you’ll be taken through the test. Complete all the stages of the test. When you’re done, you’ll get a results page that tells you what your racial preferences are. Read this results page so that you understand what your results mean. [Be sure to make a note of your results (a phrase/sentence identifying which racial group you prefer and how strongly) before you click away from this page. You need to include it as part of your assignment.]
- Finally, to more fully understand the test you took and what it can and can’t tell us, from your results page, click on the Frequently Asked Questions link. Skim over this page and read the answers to whichever of the questions you want to know about.
Now that you’ve completed the test and read a bit about it, I’d like you to think about your results. In your word processor, create a document in which you first tell me what your test results were (the sentence that indicates which group you prefer and how much), and then, answer the following questions.
- How do you feel about your test results?Why?
- The research using these tests shows that most Americans, including black Americans, show a preference for white people.Does this finding surprise you?Why/why not?
- Do you think that these tests are a good way to measure racial attitudes?Why/why not?
- Why is it important to consider implicit racial attitudes?How might implicit attitudes affect real-life racial interactions?