Sunday, April 17, 2011

Orderliness and stereotyping

This study shows that stereotyping by whites drops if the environment is orderly. The implication for people wanting to increase the comfort level among races is conservative: you need to maintain a clean, safe living space. That means that cops, not graffiti, must seen as cool.

On the other hand, disorderliness may be an accurate and important signal of risk. It doesn't make sense to clean up an environment if it tricks people into being comfortable in an objectively dangerous place.

Another point: In one experiment, whites sat as close to a black confederate as a white one, as long as the scene was clean and orderly. Does this square with the whites-as-natural-haters meme that they would sit just as close to a strange black man as a white one?

H/T Jason Malloy


The Cultural Wallflower said...

It's not a great leap to suggest this link may also apply to dress. That is, stereotyping is less related to judgment by skin color than it is to orderliness of dress and appearance. Also, orderliness of speech is an indicant of stability. Humans are very sensitive to people who seem oblivious to norms and expectations.

Finally, you should predict that there is stereotyping by skin color where skin color indicates disorderliness in these other areas by previously recognized patterns. All too easy. We just need to find a part of the world where blacks dress and behave in an orderly way, are conscientious in their living spaces, and speak in sentences produced from complete and internally consistent thoughts, and we'll find that whites in the vicinity have no stereotypes! Shouldn't be a problem...

SFG said...

This makes sense. Stereotyping is going to increase when people feel threatened. If the area is orderly, your 'threat sensors' aren't as far up.

Bill said...

Perhaps relatedly, in my experience the most batshit-insane PC warriors grew up in communities like Charles Murray's---99% ice people.