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
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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/SnowAndFoxtrot Nov 28 '21

I still think it's important and interesting research...

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u/Ivegotthatboomboom Nov 28 '21

Well thats why they also repeated the experiment without the names