I have been reading Blink, a book by Malcolm Gladwell where he speaks about rapid cognition: our ability to make snap judgments, our subconscious responses to the world, and so on. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the topic of how our human behavior is fueled by our subconscious thought, and often quick verdicts we make without even knowing it.
In the book Gladwell mentions the Implicit Association Test (IAT), where you can take a test and rate your subconscious preference to many different things or groupings of people. Gladwell himself spoke about his personal shock when he took the Race IAT because his results, time and time again, showed that he had a “strong automatic preference to white people over black people”. What makes this even more humorous, yet troubling to him, is Malcolm Gladwell is half black and half white; however his test results still showed he “preferred white people over black”.
The test really taps into the subconscious and if you take it honestly, you cannot fool it and hide your prejudice. There are many factors that impact on the results; your level and quality of interaction with black and white people, your upbringing, the way you have been socialized to think about black and white people, portrayal of black and white people in the media, just to name a few. I was very curious, so I took the Race IAT myself. I expected to see I was a closet racist or something. I nervously took the test and received my result:
Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for African American compared to European American.
I fall within 4% of people who have taken that test. Take the test for yourself. It is very interesting. Post your results on here. Don’t be shy or ashamed. Let’s start a discussion about it.
To take the test:
Click on “Demonstration”
Click on “Go to the Demonstration Tests”
Click on “I wish to proceed”
Click on the IAT test you wish to take. I took the Race IAT