Whites engage in more racist acts after declaring support for Obama, study finds.

How Obama could be bad for racial equality (BPS Research Digest):

Daniel Effron and colleagues presented dozens of predominantly White undergrad students with one of two scenarios that would reveal their favouritism towards White people: one was a hiring decision, the other related to the allocation of funds to communities. Crucially, the students were asked to make their choices about the hiring or funding either before or after they had declared whether they planned to vote for Barack Obama, in what was then the upcoming Presidential election.

Students who declared their intention to vote for Obama before making the hiring/funding decisions subsequently showed more favouritism towards White people than did students who made their decisions first. A third study showed this effect was particularly apparent among more racially prejudiced students.

“Our findings raise the possibility that the opportunity to vote for an African-American for President could have reduced some voters’ concerns about appearing prejudiced, thereby ironically increasing the likelihood that they would favour Whites in subsequent decisions,” the researchers said.

This has interesting implications for white antiracists. Not only do white antiracists’ behaviour often contradict their words, but their self-identity as an antiracist may allow them to engage in more racist acts than they would have if they did not have an antiracist identity. They may think that their antiracist contributions eliminate the possibility that they could perform racist acts, for example.

Update:

Ryan Sager frames the study with respect to the idea of moral self-regulation:

This is a concept where people who are satisfied that they are “good,” will act bad. People primed to think positive thoughts about themselves will give less to charity; perhaps those pleased with their “green” Earth Day activities won’t feel bad about polluting a couple days later.

As I said before, basically, we’re constantly calculating the trade-off between being able to see ourselves as good people and the cost of engaging in all that non-advantageous goodness.

And, so, here’s a new permutation of this idea: A couple new studies suggests that white people who voted for Barack Obama may be so satisfied with their anti-racist credentials that they… act more racist.

[...]

It may sound a little odd, but with the idea of moral self-regulation in mind it makes perfect sense. If you think you’re essentially doing a black person a favor by not discriminating against them, then a white Obama voter may think he or she has done quite enough for black people already in the last year.

Of course, I’m not saying this is admirable. But it certainly fits the theory. And the people making this calculation are almost certainly unaware that they’re doing so.

Props to Chris Diaz.

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14 Responses to “Whites engage in more racist acts after declaring support for Obama, study finds.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    That is an interesting study. People could pull the lever for Obama and feel good about themselves, and then favor hiring whites and feel good too.
    I overheard a man complaining that he couldn’ t get hired where I work because he was white, this is bull, the competition is stiff because the pay is good, and the company does like to hire a workforce that is representative of the population, but my union is almost entirely white male,, the workforce is mostly men, I think it was reported that there were 978 men and 135 women where I work, and I would guess that the majority of my co-workers, both male and female, are white. They maintain a level of that representation just enough to get a tax credit at the end of the year.
    Yes, I think I do have to be vigilant because I am well aware that racism is ingrained in me and I make mistakes all the time. I hopefully try to learn but I bet there is stuff I do that I don’t even know about.

  2. octogalore Says:

    Interesting. I wonder if the reverse is true — that (some) people who didn’t vote for Obama are being more vigilant about racism.

  3. jwbe Says:

    >Not only do white antiracists’ behaviour often contradict their words, but their self-identity as an antiracist may allow them to engage in more racist acts than they would have if they did not have an antiracist identity.

    I think it is about time that [white] female anti-racists find their own agenda which includes their own true liberation, with that they would also gain a different understanding of white supremacy and how they are victims and perpetrators at the same time, I guess. (I will perhaps post about this later on swps)

  4. Chris Diaz Says:

    Forgive me for yawning at this news, as I already knew white people do this from lived experience. Nonetheless, it is very important to document these phenomena to counter the complete denial and dodging of the white community. There is, a bit expanded version of this argument that talks about this study, a different study, and a basic reference to pyschological theory at: http://trueslant.com/ryansager/tag/racism/

  5. Restructure! Says:

    Thanks, Chris Diaz. I’ve updated the post with the moral self-regulation explanation.

  6. Lxy Says:

    “Moral self-regulation” sounds like an Orwellian catchphrase.

    It should be called immoral self-rationalization.

    And the idea that Barack Obama is a progressive has got to be one of the worst political frauds in recent times with respect to racial issues–not to mention socio-economic agenda and foreign policy.

    The Obama regime, for example, boycotted the recent World Conference on Racism–not unlike how the Bush regime walked out of the conference in 2001.

    In terms of race, it’s not a coincidence that his election has been used by certain people to promote the idea that American racism is largely a thing of a past, or even that race itself is no longer an important social identity (i.e. the post-racial society).

    That’s probably by design.

    Basically, Barack Obama symbolically represents an important paradigm shift in America’s racial order whereby the existing racist US system is perpetuated … but with a more multicultural/racial makeover.

    Welcome to the brave new world of colorblind/post-racial racism.

    Obama, and the Birth of the (Above-)Racist
    http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/blog/2009/05/obama-and-the-birth-of-the-abo.html

  7. Chris Diaz Says:

    It does make me feel better about white Americans that Obama got voted in. I have to give them at least some credit. Nonetheless, this is a very real phenomenon.

    Though what I am about to say probably only applies to some whites who voted for Obama, it is a theory of mine that concerns me.

    It seems to me that, when applicable, this “moral self-regulation” regarding whites voting for Obama is just another form of “but I have a black friend.” If I am right about that, then the implications are scary.

    It means that actually having a black friend is no longer necessary to delude yourself. At least those subtle racists that have black friends have some interaction.

    Just a thought.

  8. badr Says:

    Why are whites more racist than every other other ethnicity, when did this arise, does the colonial period in the last 300 years lead to this. we all know before 1700 the east was way more wealthier than the west, india and china had 60% of the worlds wealth at that time. If this is a new found phenomenon as wealth in the west decreases could the same phenomenon be repeated by reverse racism against whites for the next 300 years or whenever. i guess is my question is it cyclical behavior or is it just a phenomenon prevalent among the white population.

  9. Lxy Says:

    @badr

    Stop with the the tired reverse racism tripe.

    There really is nothing more pathetic than White people or their equally pathetic apologists of whatever color standing reality on its head and imagining White People as Victims of racism.

    White people whining about reverse racism is morally equivalent to Nazis complaining that they are the victims of anti-Semitism.

  10. links and kisses « Raven’s Eye Says:

    [...] Whites engage in more racist acts after declaring support for Obama, study finds. [...]

  11. Melungian Pride Says:

    White people whining about reverse racism is morally equivalent to Nazis complaining that they are the victims of anti-Semitism.

    That’s a ridiculous comparison that shows you for the racist that you are. A nazi by definition was proactively anti-semitic, part of a movement that was working against Jews. a white person is not by definition a racist.

  12. Lxy Says:

    “That’s a ridiculous comparison that shows you for the racist that you are. A nazi by definition was proactively anti-semitic, part of a movement that was working against Jews. a white person is not by definition a racist.”

    This is coming from the mouth of a racist who spouts the standard White racist/sexist trash about both Asian men and women in the other tread about Oriental(ist) sex.

    And “White identity” itself was created for the express purpose of establishing privilege and power over non-White races in America’s emerging racial caste system several centuries ago. This is by definition not only racist, but White supremacist.

    http://racetraitor.org/abolishthepoint.html

    White pride brownshirts? They got nothing to be proud of.

  13. jwbe Says:

    MPride, odd how that works, oh, but no, it’s again the perfected selective reading skills.
    Why do you think it addresses all whites when Lxy wrote:
    White people whining about reverse racism is morally equivalent to Nazis complaining that they are the victims of anti-Semitism.

  14. Declaring your anti-racist intentions may make you more racist. « Restructure! Says:

    [...] Whites engage in more racist acts after declaring support for Obama, study finds. by Restructure! [...]


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