Nosek, Banaji and social psychologist Erik Thompson culled self-acknowledged views about blacks from nearly 130,000 whites, who volunteered online to participate in a widely used test of racial bias that measures the speed of people's associations between black or white faces and positive or negative words. The researchers examined correlations between explicit and implicit attitudes and voting behavior in all 435 congressional districts.If "R" is not just for Red State anymore, then do these racial overtones and underpinnings show up in, let's say, educational research? In a new freakanomics-inspired study reported by Harvard economist, Ronald Fryer, and published by the propaganda tank, the Hoover Instititute, Fryer does several things that would make any red-blooded racist perk up:
The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces -- evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush.
"Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president," said Banaji, "but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice."
- While dissing ethographies in favor of quantititative studies, Fryer uses studies from the Manhattan Institute as a counter to the work of Signithia Fordham and John Ogbu on black academic performance and the phenomenon of acting white, or deliberately under-achieving in order to avoid peer sanctions;
- he offers a solution to the problem of acting white that would put black and other minority students in segregated, private schools;
- he blames minority communities for their own plight and never acknowledges income disparities, lack of opportunity, and racism as factors that shape identities and performance.
Minority communities in the United States have yet to generate a large cadre of high achievers, a situation as discouraging as the high incarceration rates among minorities who never finish high school. In fact, the two patterns may be linked. As long as distressed communities provide minorities with their identities, the social costs of breaking free will remain high. To increase the likelihood that more can do so, society must find ways for these high achievers to thrive in settings where adverse social pressures are less intense. The integrated school, by itself, apparently cannot achieve that end.