Racism is Real: Facts and Studies

Awareness is the first step, right? So I thought today during my week of blogging about race, I’d simply provide a list of facts and studies that show the problem of racism as alive, well, and harmful.

First, do you want to get a read on your own biases? Take this test.

This video is 4 minutes long. Watch the different reactions when a white man, a Hispanic man, and a blonde woman try to steal a bike in broad daylight.

This USA Today article shows a map of 1600 places in the US where racial disparity in arrests is even worse than it is in Ferguson. The number of people of color arrested is TEN TIMES HIGHER than that of whites. From the article: “Blacks are more likely than others to be arrested in almost every city for almost every type of crime. Nationwide, black people are arrested at higher rates for crimes as serious as murder and assault, and as minor as loitering and marijuana possession.”

This podcast from This American Life discusses the reality of housing discrimination.

This Mother Jones article discusses the science of our racist brains…and how we’re responsible for changing them.

The Sentencing Project published a full report in September. Some of the findings? Whites are more punitive than minorities and misjudge how much crime is actually committed by minorities, the criminal justice system shows a consistent racial bias, and media coverage of crime fuels racial bias.

The NAACP has put together this helpful criminal justice fact sheet.

This study showed that the exact same resume yielded different results based on the applicant’s name. “Emily” got a callback for an interview; “Lakisha” did not. A similar study showed that college professors were most likely to respond to requests for mentoring and internships from perceived white males.

The American Journal of Sociology did a study to determine how criminal record affected job searching after prison release. They found that “Among blacks without criminal records, only 14% received callbacks, relative to 34% of white noncriminals (P < .01). In fact, even whites with criminal records received more favorable treatment (17%) than blacks without criminal records (14%).”  Just so you caught that: even a white person WITH a criminal record had a 3% better chance of getting a job than a black person with NO criminal record.

The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research did a study to compare responses sellers got based on race. The seller’s hand was visible in the picture, all holding the same iPod. Black sellers got fewer responses, fewer sales, and were offered less money. Surprisingly, the greatest discrimination came from the Northeast. Similarly, a study on the usage of Air BnB showed that whites were able to charge 12% more than nonwhites.

Psychologists did a study to test whether race has an effect on the level of empathy given. Their results? It absolutely does. When white people were shown two videos of a person whose skin was pierced with a needle, one white and one black, they were more empathetic to the pain of the white person. On a related note, another study showed that people perceive African Americans to experience less pain. This was true even for NURSES.

Another study asked 90 people to determine criminal sentences for a larceny case. The case was the same other than the race of the defendant. As you probably guessed, the black defendant was given a far harsher sentence, and empathy tests showed he was given far less empathy too.

Black teenagers are more likely to be suspended by their schools, more likely to be given harsh sentences in juvenile court, and more likely to be treated as adults rather than kids who deserve a second chance. This blog post lists 14 statistics found by the Education Department.

When shown pictures of a person followed by a photo of either a tool or a gun, responders most often chose a gun for the photo of the African American man and a tool for the white man. Split second decisions tend to show our racial bias. This video game study shows that people more often shoot unarmed blacks than unarmed whites, and they more often don’t shoot armed whites.

In this study, participants acted as donors to charities based on “worthiness.” African American recipients were statistically considered less worthy than their white counterparts.

1 Comment

  1. Pam BrysonMarch 5, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Thank you Danielle Shroyer! This piece is very eye-opening. I think taking the BAIT test made the impact stronger. Thank you for bringing the discussion to the family.

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