My jaw hit the floor after reading this AP article (via Andrew Sullivan) summarizing the results of a study on racism in America. Specifically that paragraph that states that 79% of Republicans are explicitly racist, compared to 32% of Democrats.
Consistent with past research (Sniderman & Carmines, 1997; Tesler & Sears, 2010b), explicit racism was more common among Republicans than among Democrats in all years. In 2008, the proportion of people expressing anti‐Black attitudes was 31% among Democrats, 49% among independents, and 71% among Republicans, highly significant differences (p<.001). In 2012, the proportion of people expressing anti‐Black attitudes was 32% among Democrats, 48% among independents, and 79% among Republicans, again highly significant differences (p<.001).
Um wow. That is to say that 4 in 5 Republicans respond to questions in an explicitly racist manner.
The implicit racism tests are more sophisticated and use the Affect Misattribution Procedure to identify our unconscious attitudes on racism. The finding in this case suggest that as a society we still have a long way to go,
Implicit anti‐Black attitudes manifested almost the identical pattern but with smaller differences between the parties, higher apparent levels of racism among Democrats, and lower apparent levels of racism among Republicans. In 2008, the proportion of people expressing anti‐Black attitudes was 46% among Democrats, 48% among independents, and 53% among Republicans, statistically significant differences (p=.03). In 2012, the proportion of people expressing anti‐Black attitudes was 55% among Democrats, 49% among independents, and 64% among Republicans, again highly significant differences (p<.001).
These are obviously measuring two different things, but I think it’s pretty fair to say that being explicitly racist is much worse than being implicitly racist.
If I understand the test correctly, the person identified as implicitly racist is labeled as such because they associate a black person with unpleasantness. This isn’t necessarily, a bad thing. If the implicit racist lives in a world where there is a strong socioeconomic divide along racial lines, then their response may simply reflect that the black people they see are living in relatively unpleasant conditions. I think one could argue in some cases it might actually be good to recognize this socioeconomic divide, if it does exist. Of course, in some cases people will react this way for other, less charitable reasons. I think this ambiguity explains why difference between democrats and republicans erodes somewhat with the implicit test.
This is in contrast to the explicit racist who actually believes that the black person is, or somehow should be, inferior and says as much. So, it’s definitely worse to be explicitly racist.
Horrible and depressing.