Friday, April 06, 2012

Disliking races might be a personality trait

The GSS asked respondents how warmly they feel about: 1) whites, 2) blacks, 3) Hispanics, and 4) Asians. Answers ranged from very cool to very warm. I correlated answers for whites. The mean correlation is .63. While there is substantial range--from .45 for white-white to .81 for Asian-Hispanic--the main story here is that if a person dislikes one group, he tends to have comparatively cool feelings for all groups, even his own. I found the same basic results when I limited the analysis to the black sample or a sample of those of some other race.

We can construct a typology here for all races. Roughly half feel warmly toward all races. Thirty percent or so are neutral toward everyone. Fifteen percent like their group but dislike everyone else, and five percent can't stand anybody. The consistent attitude for various groups leads me to think one's disposition toward groups is a personality trait. It's probably related to one's attitude toward people in general: trusting and warm versus suspicious and hostile.

10 comments:

An Unmarried Man said...

I'm a proud member of the 5-percenter club!

I dislike everyone in varying degrees of disgust. This is why I don't understand HBD folks. There is not one group of people on this planet who deserve your unqualified respect or disgust.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this is what I was thinking on your previous posts on "warmth" towards races (and wish I'd asked)!

Looking at all the warmth towards x answers separately could miss a general factor of warmth towards groups (general factor of misanthropy?), and it seems like that's what happens.

I'd be careful of conflating a lack of warm feeling with presence of positive feeling. Consider how trait theory shows Extraversion which seems to be generalized positive feeling (which happens to be connected to greater socialization) as distinct from Neuroticism, the possession of negative feeling.

Ron Guhname said...

My white wife once said that she could be a white nationalist except that she hates white people.

pat said...

I think it's all in the rhinencephalon - the primitive "nose brain".

The various races smell different. One reason so many white women are attracted to black men may be because they can smell their higher testosterone levels. In any case a room full of black people will have a strong odor. Black people may find this comforting. White people may find this alarming.

Odors are perceived below consciousness. They affects us without our knowing.

In the musical "South Pacific" Lt. Cable sings You've got to be taught. This song advances the theory that people in a state of nature have no prejudices and that they must be educated into bigotry. Maybe, but it seems to me more likely that preferences for one's own race may be deeper and more biological.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see how many children each group has on average. If the "like'em all" group has the most kids, I think we could see more harmony. If the "hate different" and "hate'em all" groups have the most, it is going to get interesting.

Anonymous said...

There is not one group of people on this planet who deserve your unqualified respect or disgust.


No kidding!


But there are those who are much more likely to kill you, rape or rob you. So even when none are paragons of virtue down to the last man, others are so freakin' dangerous, it is worth it to keep your distance.

Aeoli Pera said...

"My white wife once said that she could be a white nationalist except that she hates white people."

Jealous.

SFG said...

Good point. Racism and race-realism, for all the ink (electrons) spilled on both sides, are really just principles of observation applied to human subgroups. Misanthropes will dislike all people, and disagreeable people with strong group-affiliation instincts will prefer their own group but dislike others.

Of course, knowing which group is likely to kill you is a survival skill in many cities...Sort of like knowing which berries to eat in the country, but with everyone refusing to criticize poisonous berries ;)

Anonymous said...

Ron, have you seen a study that examined personality traits of childless women?

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