Hey, We Could Use This “Racism” Detector!

Science marches on, and some of it
marches right into a happy country that unites

Alice`s Wonderland
to Orwell`s

. The latest scientific finding from Dartmouth
discloses a test that claims to be able to detect hidden


The test`s uses are obvious enough,
and one has already been proposed—to screen police
recruits to see if they`re "biased."

I can think of others. Put the
Racism Detector Cap on people like

Howard Dean

Bill Clinton
to find out what they really think.

You could change the course of
history with this gadget.

The problem is that the test is

pure and simple—more simple than pure, as a
matter of fact.

The Boston Globe recently
reported on an article in the scientific journal
Nature Neuroscience
that describes the racism test:

"According to the findings, the more biased people are,
the more their brain power is taxed by contact with
someone of another race, as they struggle not to say or
do anything offensive. The effect is so strong, the team
found, that even a five-minute conversation with a black
person left some of the white subjects unable to perform
well on a test of cognitive ability."

"Just having a prejudice makes
you stupider,"
beams John Gabrieli, a psychology
professor at Stanford who was not involved in the
research. "It is really interesting."

taxes brain, research finds
By Gareth Cook,
Boston Globe
, November 17, 2003]

It is indeed really interesting,
not least because what it probably proves is that just
being a psychologist makes you stupider.

Here`s how the "racism test"

First, students are given what`s
known as an "Implicit Association Test" that`s
supposed to show how unconsciously biased you are. The
students (always white apparently) are asked to push a
button for words with "positive" associations
like "beauty" and a different button for "a
common first name" for a white person like “Nancy."

In the second session, they`re
given names "more common for a black person, such as
`Tyrone`. The greater the difference between the
reaction times in the two sessions, the more the person
has trouble associating black names with positive

Therefore, he must harbor

Give me a break already.

Aside from the test`s obvious flaws
(who says which names are "white" or "black"
and which words are "positive"; how do you know
how different students associate such names, etc.), the
test seems to be given only to white students.

Of course it`s unthinkable that
blacks or non-whites might harbor "racial biases"
toward whites. But of course again that`s not the real
purpose of the test, is it?

Then there`s the real breakthrough,
the magnetic resonance imaging test that detects
[An fMRI investigation of the impact of
interracial contact on executive function
, Richeson
et al,

Nature Neuroscience
December 2003 Volume 6
Number 12]

student was then shown a series of photographs, some of
white males and some of black males. The more biased a
student was, the more the team saw a certain area of
their brain activate, an area associated with `executive
control,` conscious efforts to direct thinking."

This, said one of the Einsteins
behind the research, Dartmouth`s Jennifer Richeson, [email
] "is a sign the brain is struggling
not to think inappropriate thoughts."

So let`s say the test is valid and
the MRI really shows something about "attitudes."
What does it show?

What Professor Richeson thinks it
shows is "a dispiriting portrait of the state of the
nation`s race relations … even among the well-educated,
well-meaning Dartmouth undergraduates whom the
scientists studied."

"I think people are getting
caught in this trap where they are trying not to do the
wrong thing, rather than trying to act natural,"
told the Globe.

But what the test shows (maybe) is
that "well-educated, well-meaning Dartmouth
have problems "as they struggle
not to say or do anything offensive"
when dealing
with blacks.

Maybe this is "racism." My
own bet is that it`s fear and guilt.

It might be fear because most

Dartmouth undergraduates
know that if you say

to a black person, you can be

and be

as a "racist"
for life.

It might also be guilt because many
"well-educated, well-meaning" undergraduates
these days have

the cattle droppings their teachers

into their callow minds.

In any case, it`s also interesting
that the students` brain power is taxed by trying not

—and that`s considered proof of
racial bias.

Personally, I hope the "Racism
turns out to be reliable.

Instead of

Bill Clinton

Howard Dean
and the well-educated, well-meaning
young chickens at Dartmouth who will soon turn into
people like them, I want to use the gadget on such
apostles of equality as

Jesse Jackson

Al Sharpton
to find out how much their "brain
power is taxed by contact with someone of another race."

I`ll bet the results would be

For some reason, nobody at
Dartmouth seems to have thought of that.



[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,

America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture
, is now available

Americans For Immigration Control.

Click here
for Sam Francis` website.


to order his monograph
Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American
Political Future and
here for
Glynn Custred`s review.