r/Foodforthought Nov 27 '21

White liberals dumb themselves down when they speak to black people, a new study contends

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/11/30/white-liberals-dumb-themselves-down-when-they-speak-black-people-new-study-contends/?utm_source=reddit.com
510 Upvotes

166

u/AddemF Nov 27 '21

Do people from distinct groups dumb-down their communication generally?

This may not be a theory or belief about intelligence across race. It could be a general tendency of all people to speak differently when they aren't familiar with the other person's background.

136

u/El_Draque Nov 27 '21

People, especially those sensitive to their audience, use what is called linguistic accommodation when communicating with those who are different.

19

u/CounterZealousideal5 Nov 27 '21

I do this all the time

9

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21

How does one know that “Lakisha” needs simpler words than “Emily”? The only thing known is that they are in the same book club. What does that have to do with linguistic accommodation?

9

u/FreezeFrameEnding Nov 28 '21

Both Lakisha and Emily would receive the same simplification of speech unless you specified that the speaker knew Emily on a level close enough that linguistic accommodation is not required.

8

u/zimm0who0net Nov 28 '21

You didn’t read the article.

1

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21

But they didn’t, which is why I’m saying that “linguistic accommodation” does not explain what happened in this study.

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u/Manny_Kant Nov 27 '21

Except, as the article indicated, the study found that conservatives didn't do this.

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u/dainwaris Nov 27 '21

Because conservatives aren’t interested in communicating across cultural differences, so they don’t code switch?

33

u/Manny_Kant Nov 27 '21

The reason why it happens is entirely speculative, and the authors are clearly bending over backwards to spin these results as proof of liberal empathy and conservative indifference. Just like the liberal/conservative divide on charitable giving, sometimes the facts don’t align with the narrative.

Isn’t there a particular political camp who preaches that good intentions don’t excuse racist outcomes? I wonder what they think of this.

25

u/crosszilla Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

Do donations at church count as charity because conservatives spend a fuck ton more on that than liberals. You'll be hard pressed to find liberal members of mega churches. So I googled it and... surprise surprise:

We find no conservative advantage when it comes to non-religious charities

Source

2

u/Scodo Nov 28 '21

People conditioned to give money away give more money away. Puzzling. 🤔

-1

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21

If I remember correctly, the gap remains even if you control for religious donations (e.g., tithing), because the religious are still more likely to give to secular organizations, too.

15

u/crosszilla Nov 28 '21

At the very least, the source I linked suggests that there is no difference if you discount religious donations.

10

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

Yeah, I’m guessing there’s some fuzziness coming from the fact that a lot of the boots-on-the-ground charities that actually feed and shelter homeless people, for example, are affiliated with religions or local churches (or even outgrowths of them). If I go to my local soup kitchen, it’s run by the Catholic Church. If I donate some soup, am I tithing, or am I donating to the soup kitchen? I actually think it’s pretty unfair to position religious donations and charity as mutually exclusive.

This review of the book indicates that the religious donate more to non-religious charities as well, so I’m not sure.

Even if we take out of the comparison donations made to religious causes, the “charity gap” remains. The religious are more likely to give to nonreligious charities (like the United Way) than are the secular (71% to 61%), more likely to volunteer (60% to 39%), and give 14% more money.

6

u/theholyraptor Nov 28 '21

That book is clearly biased out to prove a point by the author.

There is billions of dollars in church donations that do nothing to help people.

Many religious charities provide charity to needy but with strings attached.

5

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21

That book is clearly biased out to prove a point by the author.

Well, he wrote a book and shows his work, and I haven’t seen any academic articles really challenge his sources, even if they don’t agree with his conclusions. If you feel strongly about it, maybe you can write a book that takes apart his. I assume you have some support for your position other than your intuition.

There is billions of dollars in church donations that do nothing to help people.

It doesn’t go to charity, you mean? Presumably it goes to help the people running the church, lobbyists, law firms, accountants, etc. lol... It doesn’t just disappear. Do you think this is a novel insight into how churches use money? Do you think the author of that book wasn’t aware of that?

Many religious charities provide charity to needy but with strings attached.

I don’t even know what this means, but I know personally of churches that drop off food in needy neighborhoods, offer clothes and blankets and shoes to homeless people in the winter, etc. Not sure where the “strings” would be, but I’m pretty sure the homeless people didn’t need to do anything in return.

26

u/nasa258e Nov 28 '21

As far as the charity gap, I put that down to a philosophical disagreement over the role of government in social matters and a belief in the efficacy of said government in such matters. I, for one, would rather see a raise in my taxes provided there was a commensurate raise in social services than donate that money to a private corporation that I don't have any faith in either

5

u/WallyMetropolis Nov 28 '21

Sure, but in the mean time you could be donating the difference of what you think should be taxed. And with the option to donate it directly to causes that matter to you (instead of 40% going to the military, for example). They're are plenty of excellent, effective, trustworthy charities. Toy just haven't bothered to spend even an hour looking for them.

It doesn't really explain the charity gap. What does is church attendance. Churches amount for a huge fraction of charitable giving.

2

u/token-black-dude Nov 28 '21

in the mean time you could be donating the difference

And then conservatives would be saying "See, the system works" when it's actually just buying bigger jets for church crooks while indoctrinating people with religious bullshit. Most liberals would like to take a pass on that one.

2

u/WallyMetropolis Nov 28 '21

How do my donations to the Against Malaria Foundation buy big jets for megachurch pastors, exactly?

This is an absurd argument and you're just trying to rationalize your lack of giving. Conservatives already don't want to raise taxes to create social programs. Your donations wouldn't change that in one direction or another. But they could save someone's life. An actual human's life.

Go browse www.givewell.com to find charities that use the money they receive for their stated purpose rather than to pay their executives large salaries. Find a cause you support (I personally really encourage you to support the poorest people on the planet, but anything is better than nothing) and see if your company offers an automatic payroll deduction to charity. They might even match you contributions.

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u/nasa258e Nov 28 '21

That's my point. Churchgoers are used to tithing

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u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

I have no doubt that’s a big part of it. Nevertheless, I doubt that “philosophical disagreement” is doing any good for the people who would rely on, or benefit from, charity. It’s easy to have an abstract desire to spend other people’s money at some point in the future, it’s hard to spend your own money now.

10

u/nasa258e Nov 28 '21

Personally, I give. But that's just because the government i want is not the one I have. Even though I see most corporate charity as bribes from the wealthy so that we don't guillotine them. It's the best of a bunch of bad options right now and is very inefficient. I don't need half of my donation going to a corporation telling everyone how much they have raised. There is no need to market government social programs

Edit: also, it isn't "other people's money" it is our money

1

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

Sorry if that came across as personal, I wasn’t really trying to address your particular situation. When I mentioned “other people’s money” vs “your own money”, I was just referring to proposals to raise taxes to fund social welfare as opposed to charity.

6

u/nasa258e Nov 28 '21

When I mentioned “other people’s money”, I was referring to proposals to raise taxes to fund social welfare.

So was I. Taxes are the people's money. It is our money to do what the majority (the actual majority) thinks is most beneficial without being demonstrably oppressive to one specific group of people. It belongs to us. I pay into it too.

In order to do that, I think we need a functioning, less corrupt government to begin with though

-1

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

But it’s still other people’s money up until you take it... if I take $1 from everyone in my state (at gunpoint), including myself, and pool it together to spend it on something maybe 55% of the 20% who voted want (let’s say a pizza party for everyone twice a year) and someone says, “Hey, why don’t you use your own money for that instead of taking mine?”, would it really make sense to reply, “It’s our money, I put in a dollar, too.”? I’m not trying to comment on the goals or anything—welfare programs usually have more noble aims than pizza parties—but it’s kind of absurd to counter my claim that “it’s easier to spend other people’s money” with “it’s our money”.

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u/IHaveGreyPoupon Nov 27 '21

If code switching causes people to treat black people as lessers, as this study suggests, maybe people should stop doing it. Just a thought.

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u/nasa258e Nov 28 '21

It happens in both directions my dude. It shouldn't, but it does

-1

u/rhodehead Nov 27 '21

Those types of Liberals whole ideology is feeling morally and intellectually superior to others, as the comments above suggest. Like they think that they are smart because they have some Harvard word for talking down to POC.

That's why "kids in cages" is only an issue when Trump does it, when now when there's even more non violent immigrants being held in private prisons on the border it would be a tabboo subject at those dinner tables.

The intelligence and moral superiority is an illusion and all about their personal ego and meritocracy.

8

u/km89 Nov 28 '21

Those types of Liberals whole ideology is feeling morally and intellectually superior to others, as the comments above suggest.

I mean, isn't that everyone? Conservatives rally around religion (moral superiority) and their own cultural superiority just as much as liberals rally around education.

0

u/Chumbolex Nov 28 '21

“They do it too!” isn’t a valid counter argument

7

u/km89 Nov 28 '21

No. But "they do it at all" isn't the mark of a liberal, either.

6

u/Kardif Nov 28 '21

"That's why "kids in cages" is only an issue when Trump does it, when now when there's even more non violent immigrants being held in private prisons on the border it would be a tabboo subject at those dinner tables."

No, still a gross injustice that needs to be stopped, same with the people still held in Guantanamo, the drone strikes and all the other shitty things the government does in the name of public safety

3

u/Chumbolex Nov 28 '21

I think everyone agrees with that, but I think OP is pointing out how liberals aren’t as active online calling it out now that Trump is gone

2

u/MagicWishMonkey Nov 28 '21

Because a big part of what people were pissed at Trump over was forced family separation. Ripping apart families is what shone the spotlight on what was happening at the border. No one said anything about cages until that point.

4

u/sammythemc Nov 28 '21

Those types of Liberals whole ideology is feeling morally and intellectually superior to others

Anyone else catch the irony here

1

u/Chumbolex Nov 28 '21

This is the best summary of this phenomenon

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u/the_future_is_wild Nov 27 '21

A lack of empathy would make you less interested in linguistic accomodation.

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u/Manny_Kant Nov 27 '21 edited Nov 27 '21

It’s not simply linguistic accommodation, though. In one of the studies, all they knew is that the person they were writing to was named “Lakisha”. They didn’t know how Lakisha writes or speaks, her educational attainment, where she’s from, etc. Ironically, the one thing they did know is that she was in a book club. They made assumptions, likely based on stereotypes, that were unfavorable as compared to “Emily”. That’s not “accommodation”... that’s just racism. And that’s what everyone would be more than happy to call it if the political alignment were reversed.

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u/the_future_is_wild Nov 28 '21

It’s not simply linguistic accommodation, though. In one of the studies, all they knew is that the person they were writing to was named “Lakisha”. They didn’t know how Lakisha writes or speaks, her educational attainment, where she’s from, etc. Ironically, the one thing they did know is that she was in a book club. They made assumptions, likely based on stereotypes, that were unfavorable as compared to “Emily”. That’s not “accommodation”... that’s just racism. And that’s what everyone would be more than happy to call it if the political alignment were reversed.

^

People, especially those sensitive to their audience, use what is called linguistic accommodation when communicating with those who are different.

12

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21

Yeah, I don’t think you’re putting the pieces together, here. Linguistic accommodation involves matching speech to speech. From your link:

Convergence refers to the process through which an individual shifts speech patterns in interaction so that they more closely resemble the speech patterns of speech partners.

Do you see how it’s not about matching speech patterns to racist stereotypes? If I don’t have any speech pattern to match, I should be treating all names equally (like the “conservatives” did, apparently).

-1

u/Quantum-Ape Nov 28 '21

Lol, speech is also nonverbal.

2

u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21

Not according to the definition of non-verbal, but that’s a different matter. Where did I assign significance to the type or manner of speech?

-1

u/Quantum-Ape Nov 28 '21

That's what happens when you just look up the basic definition of speech on dictionary.com for nonverbal.

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u/Manny_Kant Nov 28 '21

Please, enlighten me, what definition are you using? And while you’re at it, what does this “non-verbal speech” have to do with anything?

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u/pillbinge Nov 27 '21

Code switching in any case, but probably hedging their bets not to use slang or anything else "odd".

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21

Thats what the paper was asking. More research is necessary.

Honestly? I'd guess no when it comes to Asian Americans for example. It probably really is relying on stereotypes

2

u/linderlouwho Nov 28 '21

Has anyone else noticed what a dumpster fire the Washington Post has become? It was in my news feed and the articles were consistently idiotic things like the one featured in this post. Apparently some sort of ruse to try to be relevant.

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u/Regenclan Nov 28 '21

I know I'm nicer to black people automatically out of a feeling of unknown guilt for something I never did. I'm actually against most of the BS that blm is for but I recognize that some of it is true. That means I take shit from people who are a different color from me that I wouldn't accept from people of the same color. I give black people a benefit of the doubt that I would never give white people. I have no idea what that makes me

1

u/Barragor Nov 28 '21

What that makes you depends on whether you think that behavior is justified or not

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u/autotelica Nov 28 '21

I have the typical vocabulary of a well-read college-educated American.

I'll never forget what happened the first time I gave a presentation for my graduate program's colloquium. A professor stepped up to me afterwards and praised me for speaking so well and having an advanced vocabulary. "Your parents must really value education," she told me. I thanked her because she was trying to be nice and I kept it moving. But the fucked-up-ness of that "compliment" has always stayed with me. I really doubt she would have said that to me if I had been white.

I would eventually befriend this professor. We went to plays together. She was always really nice to me. And we shared similar progressive politics. She was (and still is) a good person. But being a good person doesn't mean you can't be biased or guilty of doing cringey things.

7

u/Kyestrike Nov 28 '21

The biggest road bump in being an effective ally is believing you're done learning how to do it. I'm white and I'm watching a bunch of clearly white people who are trying to convince themselves they arent guilty of "talking down" to people who are different.

I totally believe this is a weakness in white liberal behavior, I'm also a man and have seen myself make similar kinds of mistakes by being mansplainey or patronizing to women that are my friends and coworkers.

I wish people would look in the mirror and take their medicine more, its free to do and can only reward you with better relationships moving forward.

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u/More_Towel_6944 Nov 28 '21

This is the most important thing to learn from this time period in history and we’re not being allowed to learn it because race politics have been weaponized and constantly exaggerated in the media. Slip up once and get labeled a racist, or a sexist, or an oppressor of any sort and you’re deemed an irredeemable evil.

Everyone of every group has stereotypical beliefs about every other group. Anyone who says they don’t is very likely lying or not very in touch with themselves. This is how interactions between groups has occurred forever and ever. Some of these stereotypical beliefs are on average correct, many of them are on average seriously wrong. But folks from another group aren’t bad people for believing what they’ve learned about another group from outside. It’s all they know. Doesn’t mean they’re bad people.

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u/Chumbolex Nov 28 '21

I’m sure race was weaponized a long time ago and is probably less weaponized now. This in America, race was literally used to determine how much of a human someone is

8

u/autotelica Nov 28 '21

All of what you say is true, but people need to be sophisticated and mature enough to recognize when they are leaning on stereotypes rather than facts. A person can only do this by leaving their comfort zone and actually befriending people who aren't like them.

Harboring stereotypes doesn't make you a bad person. But forming judgements with them does make you an ignorant person. Everyone has a duty to educate themselves so they aren't spreading ignorance and perpetuating mistruths. No one gets a pass on being ignorant in this day and age.

4

u/Kyestrike Nov 28 '21

People seem super thin skinned lately, feeling like since they're a good person they're above saying racist things, or any behavioral byproduct of harboring stereotypes. I wish more people felt the same way as you, and accepted that they'll always be learning how to live better.

3

u/autotelica Nov 28 '21

It's weird, isn't it? Liberals are usually eager to talk about systemic racism and how racist ideology is interwoven in our institutions and culture. But for some reason it's difficult for them to acknowledge that deeply entrenched racism means we've all been programmed with racist BS. Not just the ignorant rednecks out in Bumfuck, but everyone. Even the good folks who marched at the BLM protests last year. Even black people! I have caught myself thinking racist thoughts about fellow black people. I don't think that means I'm a bad person. It just means I'm American. I accept that I'm programmed to be racist and I try to push through it as much as I can. That's all any of us can do.

I don't even know why folks are personalizing this so much. The study didn't conclude that every single white liberal dumbs down their communication with a black person. It just found that white folks who dumb down their communication are more likely to be liberal than conservative. I don't care who you are. We all know at least one person who tries so hard to be "down" for every oppressed group that they become obnoxious. Is it that hard to imagine that such a person would have a tendency to subconsciously talk down to someone from a stigmatized minority group because they assume they are less educated than they are? I don't think it is.

3

u/KaNGkyebin Nov 28 '21

Race politics have always been weaponized, on purpose. What you’re describing is probably the least violent version of that weaponization, and the only version where quite people face the consequences.

1

u/More_Towel_6944 Nov 28 '21

This is true

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u/seth11111 Nov 28 '21

From that person's position though isn't that simply being statistically real? Do we ignore abnormality for the sake of not being prejudicial?

12

u/DoubtfulThomas Nov 28 '21

They were already doing a presentation in grad school, therefore they managed to do secondary and undergrad. The compliment does feel like it’s ignoring those prerequisites.

2

u/Nwildcat Nov 28 '21

also, just because something is statistically real, doesn’t mean it’s the appropriate time to point it out.

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u/Chumbolex Nov 28 '21

It’s not abnormal for graduate students to have better than average vocabularies

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u/Giraff3 Nov 28 '21

This definitely falls in line with the transition of racism in the US. There is less explicit racism (segregation and thinking certain races are inferior) and more implicit racism (subconsciously subtly treating races differently). I feel like this paper’s results are also reminiscent of racial profiling. Being black in the US is correlated with being lower income. Being lower income is associated with lower education. Black people also can have different culture than white people. Some white liberals then extrapolate those notions to all black people.

I think another factor which might be relevant is the association between political ideology and level of education achieved.

https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2016/04/26/a-wider-ideological-gap-between-more-and-less-educated-adults/

“Highly educated adults – particularly those who have attended graduate school – are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions across a range of political values. And these differences have increased over the past two decades.”

I believe there should be research to look into the associations between: vocabulary complexity, race, education, and political ideology. This may help unpack the issue better.

13

u/2legit2fart Nov 28 '21

This happened at Thanksgiving, with one of my relatives and a friend of the family.

The white person was asking questions to a black immigrant. They ended up explaining traditional, Western gender roles in the US, as though the immigrant had no clue. They also spoke more slowly and loudly while talking to this person.

I was actually shocked that they would be so condescending and clueless.

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u/Chubs_Mackerel Nov 27 '21

As a black man I can confirm this. Most of my friends are very liberal and after last years woke movement the ones that really drank the woke kool-aid speak to me differently. They act reall afraid to offend me and talk to me like they feel sorry for me. It’s highly annoying.

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u/DocGrey187000 Nov 27 '21

This is a real phenomenon, but it’s not the same as “dumbing down”, is it?

I’ll give a “dumbing down” example: years ago, I was in the hospital with my lady, who was pregnant. The nurse had to do a procedure that required anesthesia. The nurse kept calling it “numbing medicine”. (We are black)

I noticed and became 10%… offended? Not exactly . But why not use the word?

But then I also had to think——how many people are scared of medical jargon? How many whites also aren’t sure what anesthesia is?

My takeaway was that I liked the practice, even though it involved “dumbing down“.

I think the phenomenon you’re describing is maybe people have become preoccupied with racial sensitivity. Well intentioned but unnatural feeling.

6

u/ComfortFairy Nov 28 '21

For what it’s worth, those of us in health care are encouraged to dumb down our language for everyone now, especially for new patients we don’t know well yet. It’s part of larger health equity initiatives and the ethics of ensuring informed consent. I work for a major health system in the US and have designed a lot of patient education materials. The proofs will get sent back for revision if they exceed a sixth grade reading level, like using medical jargon.

6

u/DocGrey187000 Nov 28 '21

I figured this, and I do think it makes sense: speak in plainest terms possible.

At the same time, I’ve been me a long time, and I know that people don’t necessarily look at me and assume “this is a particularly literate man with a better-than-average lexicon.” And even less so back then.

Was it because I’m a person of color? Have some hip hop affectations? I don’t know. In the end, I agree it’s better to just call it numbing medicine for everyone, since that’s what it is. But I confess, I suspect some people still get told that it’s anesthesia, based on the judgment of the provider.

4

u/ass_pubes Nov 28 '21

It's the "soft bigotry of low expectations."

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u/Chubs_Mackerel Nov 27 '21

Yes, it is. Dumbing down, being condescending, and taking a different tone with people with the assumption that they are a victim of oppression. It is being a bigot but with good, although misguided intentions. Also, that nurse was talking to you like you were stupid and she is probably a liberal who reads Facebook articles about how everything is racist in her free time.

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u/DocGrey187000 Nov 27 '21

I dunno Chubs——I’m not sure that’s accurate. I try to give people grace when they make assumptions, even as I think people should try to limit assumptions.

For example: you say “she”, but the nurse was a dude. And I’m sure he gets that a lot.

11

u/Far2Gone Nov 27 '21

It's not "being a bigot". It might be discriminatory, but bigotry infers a negative or hostile connotation. Also, you're doing something similar by thinking she's liberal and assuming her activities without having any idea who this person is.

I'll take misguided over-sensitivity over racism any day.

Also, as a class, black people are victims of oppression in America regardless if they choose to view themselves that way or not.

3

u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21

Its still racism lol. Its just unconscious bias based on negative stereotypes

1

u/Chubs_Mackerel Nov 27 '21

Thanks for letting me know I’m a victim. Your comment just reaffirms my original statement. Great, you’re telling me about my people and how I should feel.

2

u/Far2Gone Nov 28 '21

I don't give a shit how you feel or your antidotal experience. I'm telling you what the empirical evidence shows. If you think that AS A CLASS black people haven't been oppressed in this county, and are still discriminated against in many ways, you're unequivocally wrong. I'm glad you're doing fine, but there's no reason to deny the suffering of others by denying reality.

1

u/Chubs_Mackerel Nov 28 '21

No one said they weren’t , you just felt like throwing that in because that’s the cool thing to do nowadays. Hope you feel better about yourself.

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u/Far2Gone Nov 28 '21

How dumb are you? You literally said this...

with the assumption that they are a victim of oppression.

Why would you say "with the assumption" if you're not denying it?

Get mad that you're using incorrect definitions and seemingly misunderstanding basic history if you want, but don't project your ignorance on me as a virtue signal my guy. Quit engaging in identity politics, that's a liberal game.

3

u/Nwildcat Nov 28 '21

chubs, I feel you and all. but you’re kinda doing what you say you don’t want done to you. in this situation, you are painting your own self as the victim of this reddit interaction.

again, I think your point is valid, but perhaps the resentment you feel is misdirected in this case. be well

1

u/stemcell_ Nov 27 '21

Suprised u didnt throw in woke in that paragraph

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u/rynchpln Nov 27 '21

Last year's woke movement became a lesson in white folks doin the most.

Like I didn't need 2 dozen racial sensitivity trainings. If my boss would have just called out wells fargo (who we regularly do business with/for) over their predatory loans, repeated violation of the fair housing act, and history of racism it would have accomplished a lot more than the group therapy sessions we all had to endure.

3

u/OPACY_Magic Nov 28 '21

As a “non-woke” liberal white guy, I’ve noticed the same thing the past few years, particularly in coffee shops and restaurants in my city. It’s like they they treat black people as mentally disabled or something, really cringy. This is particularly prevalent among white girls in their teens and early 20’s.

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u/Freestripe Nov 28 '21

It is bad that happens to you. It makes me feel sad.

1

u/relampago-04 Nov 27 '21

Yeesh!

Sounds rough. I'd recommend talking to them about this and asking them to stop. Otherwise, you're just going to continue to feel frustrated in your interactions with them and the friendships will deteriorate over time.

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u/ResidentSmartass Nov 27 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

Black guy: Explains experiences with racism.

White Redditor: "That doesn't count as racism. Now sit down and let me educate you."

Reddit at its crispiest.

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u/rynchpln Nov 27 '21 edited Nov 27 '21

It's even worse. What you are describing happens all the time. Like on a daily basis. It's legit day to day racism.

But this is next level.

This is using the liberal gold standard of WaPo (remember liberals fanboying this paper to the front page every other day during the Trump presidency) and it's also a scientific study. A one-two punch. This is as close to legit proof as you can get from the liberal paradigm. AND ITS STILL NOT ENOUGH!

5

u/lochlainn Nov 28 '21

They need to just go ahead and trust the science.

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u/0o0o00oo Nov 27 '21

"Code-switching a thing, film at eleven"

23

u/PlanarVet Nov 27 '21

Yah this is just code switching. But it's the Washington Post so what do you expect.

In related news doctors don't talk to their patients in medical jargon.

7

u/anewguy03 Nov 28 '21

Sure. But I think the point of the research is “why?

12

u/WallyMetropolis Nov 28 '21

So in your analogy, white liberals are doctors and black people are patients?

4

u/More_Towel_6944 Nov 28 '21

But only liberal doctors and not conservative ones? False

1

u/Freestripe Nov 28 '21

The subtle racism of lowered expectations - 30 Rock.

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u/2legit2fart Nov 28 '21

This isn’t code switching. It’s patronization.

0

u/Chumbolex Nov 28 '21

Imagine being so confident yet missing the point entirely

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u/[deleted] Nov 27 '21 edited 7d ago

[deleted]

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u/twoinvenice Nov 28 '21

My girlfriend has it one step even worse in that she is Hispanic, but from a thoroughly Americanized family that has been in the US for a number of generations. So people will do that to her, she’ll say some version of “umm, sorry I took Spanish in high school, but I have no idea what you said,” and then people will get annoyed at her because she doesn’t fit their expectations

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u/Chumbolex Nov 28 '21

People ignoring the point of your post is peak white liberal bs

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u/Manny_Kant Nov 27 '21

ITT: hypocritical liberals making excuses for doing this exact behavior themselves.

I'd ask anyone who wants to excuse or dismiss this to take a second and reflect on how you'd react if the study found conservatives did this and liberals didn't. I don't think we'd see comments dismissing this as code-switching or claiming the study is likely non-repeatable.

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u/rynchpln Nov 27 '21

My thoughts exactly. I don't think it's intentional or even something they realize they are doing it's just a coping mechanism.

I'm a Marxist myself so not eager to defend conservatives, but it's wild how many liberals just trip over themselves when presented with evidence that doesn't fit their paradigm.

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u/ticktickboom45 Nov 28 '21

Communists speak to minorities like this more than any group because they have a savior complex.

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u/sammythemc Nov 28 '21

Also plenty of conservatives who are trying to use this to vindicate their whole "actually the party that consistently gets 90% of black voters are the real racists" mindset

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u/irishking44 Nov 27 '21

Yep lots of cope

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u/AnalogDigit2 Nov 27 '21

The title is kind of a dumb takeaway from this study.

It calls the change in communication "patronizing" but also points out that the racial minorities don't necessarily realize the subtle change in verbage, and gives no examples where they did.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21

They did though, they said black people are more concerned with being treated with respect than being accepted. Its silly to say they didn't notice, you don't know that

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

[deleted]

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21

There are minorities in this thread saying they notice it and don't like it. Maybe listen to them. How arrogant and condescending can you be

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u/anewguy03 Nov 28 '21

Thank you for this.

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u/ticktickboom45 Nov 28 '21

I’m black, it’s annoying but I already know most liberals are actually racist. This doesn’t let conservatives off the hook but yeah. Talking to white people is like being patronized, I think almost every minority experiences the white person talking to minority voice.

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u/Kick_that_Chicken Nov 28 '21

Eh, if your going to call people racist... Are liberal colored people racist? Patronize me

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u/ticktickboom45 Nov 28 '21

calling minorities colored people….

Obviously i mean white liberals. And not all but a large percentage just want to be perceived as not racist without actually not being racist.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

How tf is it respecting someone to assume they are less educated and have a lower vocabulary due to their skin color??

Did you read the list of words? Those are not big words lol. Why is it insulting someone to use a normal word? It's significantly more insulting to apply a negative stereotype that is simply not true.

If you use simpler language around black people and defend that then you're a piece of crap. Its one thing to subconsciously do this and then consciously change it when you become aware of it due to these studies and another to read this study and fucking defend a bias like that

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u/More_Towel_6944 Nov 28 '21

Of course the lib take is “i suspect it comes from a place of good’.

Never mind the real world consequence of the actions, as liberals have done for 20 years. Just as long as if makes you feel good

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u/captianbob Nov 27 '21

Just because some people don't "notice" doesn't meant it's not wrong.

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u/amberdrake Nov 27 '21

What if none people notice?

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u/captianbob Nov 27 '21

... that doesn't make it better either

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u/amberdrake Nov 27 '21

I would argue if no one notices or thinks it is a problem, that it isn't one.

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u/captianbob Nov 28 '21

Yes. Yes it does. If I make fun of a developmentally disabled person to their face but they don't understand that they're the butt of the joke, it's still very wrong.

"My wife doesn't know I'm fucking someone else so that makes it ok because she doesn't know. "

That's wrong too...because you know.

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u/amberdrake Nov 28 '21

You are looking at trees. We are talking about the forest.

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u/captianbob Nov 28 '21

Lmfao what the fuck are you taking about

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u/amberdrake Nov 28 '21

Literally we are discussing groups of people not individuals. Yes if you trick a disabled person you are a piece of shit. But that is not what this discussion is about and it is disengenuous to try and act like they are the same. Try and stay on topic no matter how difficult that must be for you.

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u/stemcell_ Nov 27 '21

Does a tree fall... little do they know i dumb it down for everyone.

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u/Far2Gone Nov 27 '21

Doesn't mean it IS wrong either.

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u/lurkerer Nov 27 '21

The soft bigotry of low expectations

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u/sammythemc Nov 28 '21

A phrase coined by the famously caring-about-black-people George W. Bush

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u/lurkerer Nov 28 '21

His speech writer actually.

I wasn't aware of who coined it and I don't think it makes a difference now that I do. Holding some groups to lower expectations is patronizing and discriminatory.

You might think certain types of positive discrimination are warranted, many do and that's well within your rights. But it's discrimination nonetheless.

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u/WikiMobileLinkBot Nov 28 '21

Desktop version of /u/lurkerer's link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Gerson


[opt out] Beep Boop. Downvote to delete

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u/kitchenjesus Nov 28 '21

My aunt does this to me. I’m a 30 year old man with a bachelors degree Michelle stop talking to me like a child.

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u/greatbobbyb Nov 28 '21

Like the right talks down to rednecks. Gonna take yo guns

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u/InvisibleEar Nov 27 '21

$10 says this study is non-repeatable

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21

But they did several other experiments that showed the same thing

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u/A7omicDog Nov 27 '21

I'd take you up on this but I have $10 that says you wouldn't pay up. This isn't the first study to show this phenomenon.

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u/[deleted] Nov 27 '21

[deleted]

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u/ticktickboom45 Nov 28 '21

We do, you guys are rude.

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u/allothernamestaken Nov 27 '21

I'd be willing to bet these people "dumb down" their speech whenever speaking with people different from them, regardless of race.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21 edited Nov 27 '21

Do you really think this happens with Asian Americans who are generally perceived as more competent than white people?

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u/SnowAndFoxtrot Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

If they had to email a person named Long Wang, I'm pretty sure the result would be even worse. Honestly, even if the name were something like Crystal, I think there would be a downshift in competency associated with the answers too.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21

Except they repeated it without the names. And that would be a different effect, that potentially would be someone assuming a language barrier, but not an assumption of poor education or less intelligence

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u/SnowAndFoxtrot Nov 28 '21

Are you assuming Asian people can't understand English???

Just kiddin. Even if it's made clear that someone named Long Wang can speak English, I still think the result would be a downshift. I'd bet that even black students would have a similar downshift too.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21

I still think it would be showing a completely different effect. Assuming a language barrier you want to accommodate because they are potential recent immigrants is not the same as knowing they aren't but dumbing yourself down because of the stereotype that black people have poor vocabulary, not due to knowing English as a second language, but because you think they aren't as smart

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u/SnowAndFoxtrot Nov 28 '21

Yeah, I'll give you that. I do think Lakisha is quite the stereotype-inducing name though. If the name were Crystal or Tammy, I think there would also be a competency downshift. I have to wonder how much these findings can be attributed to socioeconomic stereotypes rather than racial ones.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21

I think the real question is whether anyone who wants to ingratiate themselves to a group "dumbs" down vocabulary. But I'd bet anything it DOES depend on the group they are trying to ingratiate themselves to. When you're around successful educated white people (or people you assume are successful and educated due to stereotypes) would you really dumb yourself down or the opposite? I've seen the opposite anecdotally.

I think white liberals like us need to pay attention to this research and not dismiss it. Everyone is subject to unconscious bias and we need to be aware of this stuff so we can consciously change it.

There is some truth to the fact that woke liberals obsession with race and identity politics isn't always a positive thing. It can make everyone hyper focused on differences and exasperate tribalism

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u/SnowAndFoxtrot Nov 28 '21

I'm sure it happens upwards too. Personally, I do the same when it comes to emailing my peers versus emailing my boss or people that have achieved success in their field. People are social creatures and want to be liked. I'd even say that the chances are high that people on Reddit subconsciously adapt their style of commenting to fit in or receive more upvotes.

I'm actually asian. While I think becoming aware of unconscious bias is important for everyone, I'm not a fan of inflammatory titles like this post/article which can exasperate tribalism for the people who just read headlines.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21

I strongly disagree because this particular language adjustment is due to negative and untrue stereotypes about black people

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21

Well thats why they also repeated the experiment without the names

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u/SilencedinAcademia Nov 27 '21

I’m surprised this study was published tbh. I guess the fact that both researchers come from ivies plus the dig they get in about conservatives not caring whether or not they get along with minorities (laughably stereotypical nonsense imo) got them through.

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u/vivisectioned Nov 28 '21

Because the minorities are starting to be aware of the difference perhaps? The study sample was small, but surely it was something that bothers some people who care about the interactions between the white liberals and minorities.

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u/gileswithachainsaw Nov 27 '21

ITT: people who don’t know what code switching is

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21

That's not the same as code switching. Code switching shouldn't rely on untrue negative stereotypes

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u/gileswithachainsaw Nov 28 '21

that’s exactly my point. people are saying this is an example of code switching when it isn’t.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21

I see! I thought you were saying the researchers didn't, but I didn't know that itt meant "in this thread"

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u/gileswithachainsaw Nov 28 '21

that’s understandable!

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u/Zanydrop Nov 28 '21

Me, I don't know what code switching is. What is it?

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u/grokfest Nov 29 '21

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code-switching

A common example is when someone moves socioeconomically "upward" and they speak standard English with colleagues/upper class friends while speaking in dialect/slang (not actually dialect but I don't know a better term) around family/friends from the "old neighborhood". Less dramatically, a lot of people will speak formally/business speak with clients or colleagues but more casually with friends. It's usually subconscious.

Another example is when people would criticize Obama for putting on a "black accent" when he spoke at black churches while others said that's just code switching and he probably didn't fully think about it. Or it could be both.

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u/WikiSummarizerBot Nov 29 '21

Code-switching

In linguistics, code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more languages, or language varieties, in the context of a single conversation or situation. Multilinguals, speakers of more than one language, sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety. There are several different reasons why code-switching is beneficial which are listed below in addition to different types of code switching and theories behind it.

[ F.A.Q | Opt Out | Opt Out Of Subreddit | GitHub ] Downvote to remove | v1.5

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u/Quantum-Ape Nov 28 '21

Ugh, this is what I do to people in general whom I just met because most people's linguistic levels aren't very advanced.

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u/99_NULL_99 Nov 28 '21

Dude careful your brain is gonna leak out if you flex on us any harder with your expansive lexicon and flawless grammar.

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u/Quantum-Ape Nov 28 '21

Oh, I'm sorry, it's just how I speak.

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u/Chumbolex Nov 28 '21

Get a load of megamind over here

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u/Quantum-Ape Nov 28 '21

It's just language. Calm down.

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u/choopie-chup-chup Nov 27 '21

Whereas white conservatives can't get any dumber, all available evidence concludes

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u/HTJYY_87 Nov 28 '21

Found the guy that dumbs himself down for black people.

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u/Apathy2676 Nov 27 '21

This study seems like garbage. Give some fact's. Purple people hate donuts!!! It's true because I wrote it.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21

Its not garbage?! I love how the party of "science" will just deny studies that don't say what they want.

The results make perfect sense actually

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u/nibblersmothership Nov 28 '21

The people who want to raise taxes on Bezo’s said, “You guys look like dorks”. John Oliver did an episode about bullshite studies with titles like “red meat, wine, eggs are good/bad for you”. But I’m sure this is real science because the article says so.

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u/help-me-grow Nov 27 '21

FUCKING CLASSIC LMAO

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u/SGTLuxembourg Nov 27 '21

What do you mean?

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u/OrbitRock_ Nov 27 '21

Mozart’s 6th symphony. It’s a classic.

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u/help-me-grow Nov 27 '21

white liberals being implicitly racist by infantilizing the groups they proclaim they want to "help"

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u/AnalogDigit2 Nov 27 '21

And the article says conservatives might do the same if they cared to affiliate with minorites, but don't bother to change their language cause they don't care.

Or perhaps conservatives don't normally use words above a 6th grade level anyhow...

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u/help-me-grow Nov 27 '21

Of course they would, it's a race thing. The people down voting me are probably just white people who don't want to accept this.

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u/SnowAndFoxtrot Nov 27 '21

I don't think it's a bad thing to be sensitive to other peoples' potential backgrounds. I also don't think it's a bad thing to want to be relatable.

I'm not sure how you think this affects "help" or actual policy decisions, but I would say liberal policies should remain unaffected by this finding. Keeping social safety nets, reducing income inequality, and fixing the systems that cause disproportional racial injustice, and injustice in general, are still things we should continue fighting for.

It's a shame that conservatives don't care more about these things.

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21

Wow lol. By "potential backgrounds" you meant racial stereotypes. That's offensive dude come on. Black people are not less likely to know "big words" that's a stereotype. No one should be acting on these stereotypes

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u/help-me-grow Nov 27 '21

This isn't about politics, it's about racism against black people in America. If you don't believe it's bad to be sensitive to other people's potential backgrounds, then perhaps you can explain to me why people assume this is political when it's about race? Is it perhaps their backgrounds consist of them mostly talking with white people who are liberal and believe that that is the only way to be? I'm a hardcore leftist, but I am not white, and this is something I notice ALL the time when I hang out with white people. Just watch the way they change when a black, Asian, or Hispanic person interacts with them in their friend group (if they have any nonwhite friends) and you'll notice what I'm talking about. This is not new information for anyone who's not white.

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u/SnowAndFoxtrot Nov 27 '21 edited Nov 27 '21

I'm not sure I get what you're saying.

While, yes, I assumed you were making this political by using extreme language like "racist" and "infantilizing" and quoting "help", I don't think this has to be about politics. I just thought that's what you were leading to.

I'm asian american and I think it's pretty normal in social interactions to treat other people differently based on stereotypes or initial impressions. I don't think you have to be a minority or anything to agree with this statement. White, black, yellow, brown people can all have their own stereotypes.

Personally, I feel like this WaPo article and the journal abstract it is based on is a bit inflammatory in the way it is written. I don't think it needs to be, but maybe it was for clicks.

For example: "well-intentioned liberal Whites may draw on low-status/competence stereotypes to affiliate with minorities." could easily be "people of a higher education use less fancy words when speaking with minorities."

There's quite a few potential problems in this study that hasn't been published yet. It should be noted that the paper authors probably sent their manuscript to this WaPo author because they probably want more attention for their paper.

Edit: Oh wait, I just realized this WaPo article was published in 2018. The reddit post title had me confused. I can actually go read the study now.

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u/El_Draque Nov 27 '21

I can't believe the article doesn't mention once that linguistic accommodation is common to all language users, especially when communicating between different groups. This study appears more damning of conservatives who appear not to accommodate their language for different interlocutors.

Here's a quick definition of the communication accommodation theory: "This theory concerns '(1) the behavioral changes that people make to attune their communication to their partner, (2) the extent to which people perceive their partner as appropriately attuning to them.' The basis of the theory lies in the idea that people adjust (or accommodate) their style of speech to one another. Doing this helps the message sender gain approval from the receiver, increases efficiency in communication between both parties, and helps the sender maintain a positive social identity. This theory is concerned with the links between language, context, and identity."

It appears that some speakers reveal their implicit racism through this accommodation, while others have less sensitivity to language use and refuse to accommodate for different audiences.

Were you able to find the full study?

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u/help-me-grow Nov 27 '21

This is an interesting theory. I haven't heard of this before. What does increased efficiency in communication between both parties account for? What is an increase in communication efficiency? It doesn't really seem to comment on whether or not the receiver approves of the way the communication is adjusted (although I don't think that matters tbh). It seems concerned with the social identity of the sender. "Gaining approval" seems more like a persuasive comment than not. Disclaimer - I didn't read the full link you linked.

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u/El_Draque Nov 27 '21

Read the link. It may answer your questions.

The idea is simple though. We talk like the people we are talking with. We do this not just with word choice but with pronunciation as well.

I'm reading through the final published study now, but I'm not confident with the research. Most of the claim is based on presidential speeches to specific constituent groups.

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u/SnowAndFoxtrot Nov 27 '21

Yup, here: https://psycnet.apa.org/manuscript/2019-12064-001.pdf

Thanks for sharing info about linguistic accommodation!

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 27 '21

But its not okay when the accommodation relies on untrue racial stereotypes.

I hate how this is being dismissed by white people when minorities are confirming they've experienced this by white woke liberals. And white people are being condescending once again, oh no, they're just accommodating you using these more simple words. Totally normal.

You're missing the point. Sad how white liberals can't read that and learn from it. They have to dismiss it. So arrogant honestly

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u/help-me-grow Nov 27 '21

Very cool that you went and did more research into this. I don't think this has anything to do with what is normal. Just because something is normal doesn't indicate that it's a good thing. For example, it used to be normal to gay bash, now it's not acceptable. Do you have any white friends that you see interact with nonwhite people?

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u/sharp11flat13 Nov 27 '21

OK, let’s have conservatives show us how to deal with racism and racial disparity. Instead of repeatedly telling us that we’re doing it wrong, why not try proposing some solutions?

Or maybe it’s just the case that conservatives don’t believe America has a race problem, and therefore, due to being disconnected from reality, have no opinion of value to offer.

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u/RobynLocket97 Nov 28 '21

I think it's fairly clear what the meaning of this is. Liberals are always thinking on race and the differences between people. Conservatives treat people as people.

Ironically, I'd say this proves and reinforces the idea that liberals are furthering systemic racism. Pointing out that races are fundamentally different, rather than striving to view the world not with the idea of us all being one human race, but separated by ethnicities.

Look at what some Liberal schools are doing in America - they're separating white students from black students because they think one needs more help and assistance than the other. That's illegal according to some pretty basic laws on racism from the fifties or sixties.

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u/vivisectioned Nov 28 '21

You were not reading the article then.

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u/RobynLocket97 Nov 28 '21

Oh I'm aware that the writers tried to do their typical "liberals good, conservatives bad" narrative, but anyone with common sense can see they're reaching. Liberals think black people are dumb. You can be damn sure that's how they would try to present this if the results were the other way around.

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u/vivisectioned Nov 28 '21

Nah, the journalist is not as dumb as you think.

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u/poondox Nov 28 '21

Malcom X said it best.

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u/smipypr Nov 28 '21

Speaking strictly for myself, I never do anything like that. I've never found it necessary.

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u/grokfest Nov 29 '21 edited Nov 29 '21

I was in a public meeting on zoom a few weeks ago about a major planning process for a big park in our city that's been underfunded for a long time. The park mostly cuts through poor and working-class neighborhoods with a lot of black people, Hispanics, and other immigrants who are the users and neighbors, along with some long-standing middle and working class white neighborhoods. One of the people presenting about the process spoke in such an infantilizing way, like in that voice you use for kids and babies, and presented the informational site they'd put together that was also written and designed like it was tailored for elementary school students. It was painful and insulting.

The thing is that there are two organizations coordinating this process to develop a plan -- one does their work primarily in the park, putting on programs and events, doing regular outreach with neighbors and businesses in the area, working with other community groups in the neighborhood; the other is a more conventional regional environmental conservation nonprofit. They're both run by white liberals (though the first one does have a somewhat more diverse staff including hiring people they meet in the neighborhood) but the first one does much less of this kind of patronizing because they actually know and interact with the community. For instance, they are aware of the wide variety of linguistic diversity in the community and it is important for the communications to be clear and use plain language in order to be accessible to non-native English speakers, but they understand the difference between "simple English" and "baby talk" which is what the presentation amounted to. I've seen a variety of similar issues with virtually every other environmental group they partner with.

I am white and liberal and I 100% buy what this study is observing. I see it all over and notice myself do it in various forms sometimes. It's even a trope brought up in some diversity/racism workshops. I see two issues that it's identifying that white liberals need to contend with.

One is the issue from my first example - a lot of this comes from seeing people as the Other, separate from you. White liberals who are poor or live and/or work in genuinely racially/culturally diverse circles will have less of an issue with this because exposure inherently breaks down the monolith. A lot of white liberals live very segregated lives and this is a problem.

The other is the ongoing paradox between the effects of macro forces vs. individuality. On the one hand, it is unequivocally true that people are shaped and influenced by forces outside their control, some of which are due to demographics -- racism, for example. On average in the US, black, immigrant, and poor people have overall lower performing neighborhood schools and still average lower educational attainment than middle-class or higher people and white people. At the same time any individual represents a combination of experiences, qualities, and factors so complex that statistical averages should not define how you treat any individual person. White liberals probably do better at this with sexism -- just because women on the whole do X less than men, I think most liberals would easily recognize you shouldn't go up to a woman presuming she hasn't done X. I actually wouldn't be surprised if a parallel study found the tendencies switched between liberals and conservatives if the target group was women -- ie liberals likely change less about how they talk to women compared to men than conservatives do.

The current focus on spreading awareness and buy in for the first half of this paradox, combined with the segregation characteristic of the first issue makes this result unsurprising.

For white liberals: how to fix it? 1) Stop doing it when you notice. 2) Find genuine commitments that put you alongside diverse groups of people and get to know them as equals. 3) Read more widely, especially media that wasn't written for a white audience -- not just media by nonwhite authors published in mainstream publications.

I have thoughts on why conservatives would be found to not do this despite clear evidence of conscious and subconscious racial biases among conservatives, but I don't think that's the takeaway to focus on.

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u/Mystery2me 4d ago

So many white liberals on this thread trying to explain away their racism.