Reflections on the Implicit Association Test

NEWSWEEK’s Raina Kelley writes:

…I have spent the next 12 years leaving my purse wide open and at least six feet away from me. It’s my penance for having automatically assumed a black man in L.A. was a criminal. Being black doesn’t get me a pass on unconscious negative feelings about African-Americans or the shame we feel when they become conscious. We see the same cultural indicators as everybody else—back then, hours of riot footage, rap videos, and the O.J. trial had created an automatic connection in my mind between African-American Los Angelenos and danger.

So, I was actually excited to read about a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in which researchers from the University of Washington confirmed the validity of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). The IAT made a lot of news late last year when results showed that 70 percent of those who took it harbor an unconscious preference for white people over black people. And no, I’m not talking about 70 percent of white people—I mean people of all races who took it, including African-Americans.

The Implicit Association Test can be accessed here.

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