Discrimination Against Blacks Linked To Dehumanization

Chance writes: This study is very interesting, and this why African Americans who constantly engage in negative behavioral pathologies in public — have to be careful. They constantly help give a bad reputation to the black American race, and this helps give the go head to the subconscious biases — that whites and non whites have about blacks being animal like, and bruteful in behavior. The pathologies of Black sub culture are partially responsible for why blacks are seen as ape like, and racism is the other culprit. These two combined have given certain people from other ethnic groups the go head to feel comfortable mistreating blacks. Even police officers feel comfortable mistreating blacks because they are aware of the social climate — that they may not be punished for mistreating and beating a black person. There is no justification for mistreating people because you believe they are lower than you.        

Discrimination Against Blacks Linked To Dehumanization, Study Finds

Sciencedaily.com Friday February 8, 2008

Crude historical depictions of African Americans as ape-like may have disappeared from mainstream U.S. culture, but new research reveals that many Americans subconsciously associate blacks with apes.

In addition, the findings show that society is more likely to condone violence against black criminal suspects as a result of its broader inability to accept African Americans as fully human, according to the researchers.

Co-author Jennifer Eberhardt, a Stanford associate professor of psychology who is black, said she was shocked by the results, particularly since they involved subjects born after Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. "This was actually some of the most depressing work I have done," she said. "This shook me up. You have suspicions when you do the work—intuitions—you have a hunch. But it was hard to prepare for how strong [the black-ape association] was—how we were able to pick it up every time."

The paper, "Not Yet Human: Implicit Knowledge, Historical Dehumanization and Contemporary Consequences," is the result of a series of six previously unpublished studies conducted by Eberhardt, Pennsylvania State University psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff (the lead author and a former student of Eberhardt’s) and Matthew C. Jackson and Melissa J. Williams, graduate students at Penn State and Berkeley, respectively. The paper is scheduled to appear Feb. 7 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

The research took place over six years at Stanford and Penn State under Eberhardt’s supervision. It involved mostly white male undergraduates. In a series of studies that subliminally flashed black or white male faces on a screen for a fraction of a second to "prime" the students, researchers found subjects could identify blurry ape drawings much faster after they were primed with black faces than with white faces.

The researchers consistently discovered a black-ape association even if the young adults said they knew nothing about its historical connotations. The connection was made only with African American faces; the paper’s third study failed to find an ape association with other non-white groups, such as Asians. Despite such race-specific findings, the researchers stressed that dehumanization and animal imagery have been used for centuries to justify violence against many oppressed groups.

"Despite widespread opposition to racism, bias remains with us," Eberhardt said. "African Americans are still dehumanized; we’re still associated with apes in this country. That association can lead people to endorse the beating of black suspects by police officers, and I think it has lots of other consequences that we have yet to uncover."

Historical background

Scientific racism in the United States was graphically promoted in a mid-19th-century book by Josiah C. Nott and George Robins Gliddon titled Types of Mankind, which used misleading illustrations to suggest that "Negroes" ranked between "Greeks" and chimpanzees. "When we have a history like that in this country, I don’t know how much of that goes away completely, especially to the extent that we are still dealing with severe racial inequality, which fuels and maintains those associations in ways that people are unaware," Eberhardt said.

Although such grotesque characterizations of African Americans have largely disappeared from mainstream U.S. society, Eberhardt noted that science education could be partly responsible for reinforcing the view that blacks are less evolved than whites. An iconic 1970 illustration, "March of Progress," published in the Time-Life book Early Man, depicts evolution beginning with a chimpanzee and ending with a white man. "It’s a legacy of our past that the endpoint of evolution is a white man," Eberhardt said. "I don’t think it’s intentional, but when people learn about human evolution, they walk away with a notion that people of African descent are closer to apes than people of European descent. When people think of a civilized person, a white man comes to mind."

Consequences of socially endorsed violence

In the paper’s fifth study, the researchers subliminally primed 115 white male undergraduates with words associated with either apes (such as "monkey," "chimp," "gorilla") or big cats (such as "lion," "tiger," "panther"). The latter was used as a control because both images are associated with violence and Africa, Eberhardt said. The subjects then watched a two-minute video clip, similar to the television program COPS, depicting several police officers violently beating a man of undetermined race. A mugshot of either a white or a black man was shown at the beginning of the clip to indicate who was being beaten, with a description conveying that, although described by his family as "a loving husband and father," the suspect had a serious criminal record and may have been high on drugs at the time of his arrest.

The students were then asked to rate how justified the beating was. Participants who believed the suspect was white were no more likely to condone the beating when they were primed with either ape or big cat words, Eberhardt said. But those who thought the suspect was black were more likely to justify the beating if they had been primed with ape words than with big cat words. "Taken together, this suggests that implicit knowledge of a Black-ape association led to marked differences in participants’ judgments of Black criminal suspects," the researchers write.

According to the paper’s authors, this link has devastating consequences for African Americans because it "alters visual perception and attention, and it increases endorsement of violence against black suspects." For example, the paper’s sixth study showed that in hundreds of news stories from 1979 to 1999 in the Philadelphia Inquirer, African Americans convicted of capital crimes were about four times more likely than whites convicted of capital crimes to be described with ape-relevant language, such as "barbaric," "beast," "brute," "savage" and "wild." "Those who are implicitly portrayed as more ape-like in these articles are more likely to be executed by the state than those who are not," the researchers write.

The way forward

Despite the paper’s findings, Eberhardt said she is optimistic about the future. "This work isn’t arguing that there hasn’t been any progress made or that we are living in the same society that existed in the 19th century," she said. "We have made a lot of progress on race issues, but we should recognize that racial bias isn’t dead. We still need to be aware of that and aware of all the different ways [racism] can affect us, despite our intentions and motivations to be egalitarian. We still have work to do."

For Eberhardt, two stories of race exist in America. "One is about the disappearance of bias—that it’s no longer with us," she said. "But the other is about the transformation of bias. It’s not the egregious bias anymore, but it’s modern bias, subtle bias." With both of these stories, she said, there is an understanding that society has moved beyond the historic battles centered around race. "We want to argue, with this work, that there is one old race battle that we’re still fighting," she said. "That is the battle for blacks to be recognized as fully human."

This research was supported by a Stanford University Dean’s Award to Jennifer Eberhardt.

Adapted from materials provided by Stanford University.

 From sciencedaily.com

Discrimination Against Blacks Linked To Dehumanization, Study Finds


  1. All I have to say is that George W. Bush looks like as much of an ape as any black man I’ve ever seen.

  2. Chance

    @ Rashid,

    Laugh out loud at the Rashid comment. You putting Bush on blast Rashid, by letting him know how some people perceive his physical appearance.

  3. Keita Fennick

    Is it me? But it always seems that whites have some sort of obsession with black people. They won’t leave us the hell alone.

    It’s funny that they tan their skin to get dark like blacks.

  4. Keita Fennick

    Another thing…I don’t care nothing about whites and what they think.

  5. Chance

    Keita Fennick Wrote:
    Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 7:27 pm –
    Is it me? But it always seems that whites have some sort of obsession with black people. They won’t leave us the hell alone.

    It’s funny that they tan their skin to get dark like blacks.

    My response: Some whites I have spoken with said that they don’t like the all pale skin white look, the skin is too pale. They said they like the Tan look better. So whites with pale skin are not as admired by many whites as whites with tan or beige skin color. Many whites like the olive Italian skin color more. Many whites like the Mediterranean white skin color.

  6. Joseph

    I’m not sure if whhite people want to tan to get dark like blacks, because it is probably an impossible feat. Black people are way too dark for white people to emulate. My mom said that whites would love to have my skin tone, but I dunno about that. It’s true that some white people do absses over the tan. They need to chill out.

  7. Jane


    You were so right when you said, “black people are way too dark for white people to emulate.”

    I think that white people are actually trying to attain the skin tone of most Mulatto people, which is honey colored golden beige. I don’t think they are really trying to become jet black.

  8. Chance

    @ Jane,

    I agree that many white people from my personal experience admire the beige, honey colored golden beige, and the olive color. I agree that they don’t in general want to have dark black skin like a dark skin black person. Many whites don’t admire the pale white look at all, and prefer a tan.

  9. Lisa

    Chance, as usual, you are correct.

  10. Cee Cee

    I don’t know about getting dark like blacks, but I do know all that tanning is unhealthy for their skin. God knew what he was doing when he put dark skinned people next to the equator.

  11. Chance

    # Lisa Wrote:
    Monday, March 3, 2008 at 10:33 am – e

    Chance, as usual, you are correct.

    Thanks Lisa!

  12. Denise

    The fact of the matter is that whites are tanning their skin, getting collagen lips and are now getting butt lifts and implants nowadays. I really believe that in secret, whites admire some features associated with black phenotypes. Whites do not want to look mullato, because mullatos get some of their features from whites, so it would be a backwards ideal for them to want to look mullato. Did someone say Jet Black, that is like saying tarbaby or “High yellow”, which are offensive terms.
    White men in secret, are attracted to a black woman’s features, as a result, many white women are spending thousands of dollars on plastic surgery to appear more attractive to white men. Whites also spend a lot of money on anti-aging products to have the aged skin advantage that blacks have due to melanin.

    Blacks owned civilizations, as kings and queens, while the Europeans were living in caves eating raw meat, these Europeans were called The Neanderthals. Africans were actually civilized before whites, so I do not understand why some whites believed that Colonizing countries would make countries more civilized.

    Throughout history, it was the Europeans who displayed brutal behavior, that is where the term “blue eyed devil” come from. Europeans rule the world, because of the violence and inhumanity they placed on other groups.

  13. Cee Cee

    Denise…very smart woman.

  14. caucasion = Simple minded, rural and inbred. Poor excuses for homosapiens. Diet Consists of roasted racoon and roadkill. usually has around 12 children, all named cleetus, britney or clancey. Lives in trailers or shacks. often mistaken for game. the combined IQ of a family of hillbilly’s often challenges the IQ of the raodkill they eat, which is approximatly how many teeth they have (less then 5)

    country folk
    trailer park white trash

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