Ho-hum Study from Yale: Progressives More Racist Than Conservatives

Yale and Princeton researchers have analyzed speech patterns and vocabulary used by white “liberal” and “conservative” politicians, and also more broadly white “liberal” and “conservative” citizens, when addressing presumed black audiences, and they have found — get ready to be much less surprised than the researchers — that liberals show a much greater tendency to “dumb down” their normal language and skill level in conversation with blacks.

According to new research by Cydney Dupree, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM, white liberals tend to downplay their own verbal competence in exchanges with racial minorities, compared to how other white Americans act in such exchanges. The study is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

While many previous studies have examined how people who hold racial bias behave in multi-racial settings, few have studied how whites who are more well-intentioned interact with people of other races. “There’s less work that explores how well-intentioned whites try to get along with racial minorities,” Dupree says. “We wanted to know their strategies for increasing connections between members of different social groups—and how effective these strategies are.”

Notice that even though the results show that progressives are more likely to speak to blacks in condescending and racially-biased ways, the study’s authors still feel obliged to preserve their own political illusions by insisting that this finding is paradoxical, since liberals “are more well-intentioned” toward racial minorities than conservatives. In fact, the term “well-intentioned” recurs throughout the researchers’ account of their study.

This assumption of nobler sentiments from Democrats somehow survives the finding that:

Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences. The difference wasn’t statistically significant in speeches by Republican candidates, though “it was harder to find speeches from Republicans delivered to minority audiences,” Dupree notes.

Again, the researcher is compelled to offer an anti-Republican slant to the findings. Democrats talk down to blacks more than Republicans do — but of course Republicans rarely talk to black audiences at all! To which we might ask, “What is a ‘black audience,’ and why would a politician seek to speak specifically to an audience made up exclusively of blacks?”

And an ounce of serious critical analysis, in light of the study’s findings, would suggest an easy answer to this question: They speak to audiences selected and designed as “black audiences” because they systematically wish to communicate with blacks in a less informative, mature, and educated way than the way they communicate with non-blacks; hence, they prefer to address all-black audiences separately from primarily white audiences.

Much as the progressively-inclined Ivy League researchers may find these results surprising or disturbing, and as much effort as they feel must be exerted to insure that everyone reading their study understands that this obvious evidence of explicit racial bias and intellectual condescension toward blacks in no way indicates racial bias or intellectual condescension toward blacks, the truth is that no one who is not a progressive academic, or who has an ounce of honesty or intellectual integrity, can be even slightly surprised by this study’s findings. Of course Democrats, and progressives in general, are more racially biased and show less respect for “black audiences.”

Here is the ridiculous explanation offered by the authors:

Dupree and Fiske suspect that the behavior stems from a liberal person’s desire to connect with other races. One possible reason for the “competence downshift,” as the authors describe it, is that, regardless of race, people tend to downplay their competence when they want to appear likeable and friendly. But it’s also possible that “this is happening because people are using common stereotypes in an effort to get along,” Dupree says.

No, people do not downplay their competence when they want to appear likeable and friendly, unless they are presuming that their audience is less competent (i.e., intelligent) than they are, as is obvious from the fact that these same Democrats do not downplay their intelligence when speaking to primarily non-black audiences. If Democrats are “using common stereotypes in an effort to get along,” it is because (a) they believe in those stereotypes, (b) they wish to propagate the deficiencies that define those stereotypes, or (c) both (a) and (b). 

Furthermore, the implication of the researchers’ academic bias in defense of progressives is that conservatives, who do not downplay their intellectual level or language skills when speaking to black audiences, must not want to appear likeable and friendly — an implication which, given that this part of the study’s findings deals specifically with political candidates, is untenable in the extreme.

The real reason “conservatives” are less likely than “liberals” to fake lower levels of intelligence and linguistic competence when speaking to black audiences, however, is as obvious to any simple rational analysis as it is incomprehensible to one mired in today’s knee-jerk collectivist presuppositions, especially within the university culture. 

“Conservatives” tend to think all people are individuals first, and thus that, regardless of what popular stereotypes might indicate about any given identity group, each new person one encounters must be treated as one’s equal by default, until and unless he or she proves otherwise.

“Liberals,” by contrast, as a matter of ideological faith, think of everyone as a member of an identity group first, and since everyone knows popular stereotypes of blacks indicate lack of education and poor language skills, this means “liberals” will habitually prejudge each individual black person they encounter according to that stereotype.

In short, to the extent that conservatives are less collectivist in their presuppositions, they will naturally exhibit less racial prejudice than liberals. Again, no surprise.

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