Because This is a "Teachable Moment" in History…

…I am revealing that, at least according to the top test in the first link listed in this OpEd piece, I supposedly have a slight unconscious preference for white people but a strong unconscious preference for Barack Obama.

Of course I knew the latter assessment, but am angry at myself for the former, especially given that I practiced law as an appellate public defender in NYC representing almost all non-whites for many years. But according to the test-makers, most people, of all races and ethnicities, come up with that result. Yet, seeing as how Obama won by a pretty strong margin, there have to be a good many people who receive the same evaluation I did. Hmmmm. It looks like people were able to look past race for the election, although race is still an issue in the way people process information and view their surroundings.

Anyway, these tests are very interesting and they’re worth taking (you have to be aware of your unconscious thoughts in order to overcome them, no?). They’re made by Harvard and University of Chicago. The Chicago one is a bit creepy and speaks to the Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo cases. I think I was fair, but quite slow in my reactions… Anyway, take the tests!

By the way, yes, I know this is a dance / arts blog, which you’d never know by looking at the “recent entries” side bar. I will return to writing about dance this week (and get up to date on some posts — there are several things I’ve seen that I haven’t written about yet) 🙂 This is just such a momentous time and it’s impossible not to reflect on it. (Thanks to Eva for the link to the OpEd piece.)


  1. According to the test, I had a slight preference for black people over white people and a slight preference for Obama over McCain. I’m a white and liberal. I’ve done these IATs before, and while they’re interesting, they definitely aren’t to be taken as gospel. (As in, it isn’t an “are you a racist” test)

  2. Thanks Melissa! It’s funny because on that first test when I “messed up” it was to put black men in the ‘good’ category or white men in the ‘bad’ instead of the other way around — it gives you a big red x when you put someone in the wrong category (wrong according to the test’s instructions, of course). But maybe the test was measuring something I couldn’t see — like response time. In the second test, I got everyone right, except for one white man, whose cell phone I mistook for a gun. At first I was excited that I didn’t accidentally mistake a black man’s wallet or cell phone for a gun. But then I saw my response time and realized I’d taken much longer to determine whether a black man had a gun or not than I did with the whites, which meant even though I got almost everything right, I hesitated more with the black men.

    Yeah, I agree – I don’t think these tests are meant to deem someone a racist, but more just to get you to think about unconscious thoughts and assumptions you may make without knowing it.

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