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Your Brain on Racism -or Guilt?

  1. Nov 19, 2003 #1


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    Here is a report on exciting work being done with tMRI. A careful analysis of research that shows that being a racist slows you down on cognitive tasks - or does it?
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  3. Dec 17, 2003 #2
    Why did they only test for White racism? Why not for non-white racism? They could have showed pictures of Whites to Blacks, or pictures Arabs to Jews and vice versa, or pictures of Chinese to Japanese or vice versa. It would be interesting to compare the results.

    Carlos Hernandez
  4. Dec 17, 2003 #3


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    Carlos, that post reminds me of part of James Heckman's critique of the Bell Curve (because I am just reviewing his paper). Criticising a piece of research and saying why didn't do it the way I would have done it. One answer to both questions is that in each case this was really the first research of its kind, so of course it wasn't yet a complete program. And second, the other scientists aren't you, and their priorities don't necessarily coincide with yours. The fact that a study isn't in somebody else's pattern does not invalidate the positive results that it obtained.

    All the things you suggested were good topics for further study, and I have no doubt they will eventually be studied.
  5. Dec 17, 2003 #4
    I agree with you that my comments don't invalidate the research. I was just really curious as to why they automatically only thought of looking for white racism and not other types of racism. Political convenience? But I do see your point: often, "rebuttals" to racial books include asking "what is the researchers motives?" as opposed to actually looking at the data itself. red herrings, I believe?
  6. Dec 17, 2003 #5


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    So many of the discussions in these areas turn on a numerate/nonnumerate distinction. People who can't follow the math conclude it's all mumbo-jumbo and either start quoting their favorite guru or just ranting and blaming the messenger. It's just the same, but not nearly so dangerous to society, with physics cranks.
  7. Dec 18, 2003 #6
    Of course it's PC. It's been said that only the group in power can be racist so the researchers only wanted to prove that point. But one can assume that the same conclusion could be had by testing other racial/ethnic groups. People tend to flock to their own kind and view those outside the tribe suspiciously at first.

    I suggest that everyone on this planet is racist to a degree whether they choose to admit it or not. It is what has enabled humans to survive and groups to stay in power in their own environment. What is detrimental to a mixed society is whether their racism includes physical harm or roadblocks to economic inclusion for those able to compete.

    Take Rwanda for example, the same tribe which only makes up 14% of the population has ruled the majority (except for short periods) for hundreds if not thousands of years.
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