Things That Matter

Using MRIs And Science, Researchers Proved That White People Tend To Be More Racist

It’s something we’ve long suspected and finally confirmed. A new study revealed what many people of color probably already know – that white people are more likely to not be able to differentiate people outside their race. For the study, scientists used MRI tests to understand how nonpeople of color register Black faces. The scientists examined the MRI brain results of 20 people around 20 years old while they looked at images of faces of black people and white people that gradually changed from looking identical to different. 

What they discovered was that the face recognition part of the brain showed increased activity even when presented with the smallest change in the white faces proving they noted a difference.

Meanwhile, the changes in the black faces elicited a slower response indicating they were more likely to view them as similar despite the same changes that were used on the white faces. 

Essentially, the study found that all of the images of black faces appeared the same to the white participants, despite the fact that they were different. 

“Here, we show that race biases extend as far down as our sensory processes, such that what our senses pick up isn’t necessarily a perfectly accurate representation of the world around us,” Brent Hughes, from the University of California, Riverside said, as reported by Cosmos Magazine. 

These tendencies can have serious real-world consequences in situations like identifying someone in a police lineup or describing an attacker to the police. “If we quite literally ‘see’ other race individuals as more similar to each other, this may serve as an early mechanism of stereotyping,” Hughes added. 

The research journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), recently published “Neural Adaptation to Faces Reveals Racial Outgroup Homogeneity Effects in Early Perception,” by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of California, Riverside.

During the study, scientists investigated “the tendency to view members of social outgroups as interchangeable.”

“What it tells us is that our tendency to see members of our own [racial] group as individuals and de-individuate members of other racial groups, that is something that happens on sight,” Nick Camp, a co-author from Stanford, told The Guardian.

There were additional experiments that didn’t include technology including one where participants had to rate how different they thought a series of faces for a certain race actually were, whether a pair of faces were different, and if they had seen a certain face before. 

What they found was that the participants believed all the black faces looked like each other or they had seen them before, more so than the white faces even though both races had been created to be equally similar. 

 It’s important to note the limitations of the study since it was a small test group since there were only 20 participants who were all white and were only shown black and white faces.

They also didn’t take into account how diverse the social groups of the participants which could potentially influence their views. 

The idea that people of a certain racial or ethnic group all look the same is not new, though this study provides scientific backing for long-standing assumptions. The cross-race effect, as it is known, is when an individual is more likely to recognize faces of a race they’re most familiar with, presumably their own. 

In a 2001 study, 231 witnesses participated in cross-race versus same-race photographic line-ups identifications, in the former, 45 percent were identified correctly versus 60 percent in the latter.

“The problem is not that we can’t code the details of cross-race faces–it’s that we don’t,” Daniel Levin, a cognitive psychologist at Kent State University explained to the American Psychological Association Forbes reported. 

In cross-race effects studies, there are two types of facial recognition processes: featural, literally a person’s features, and holistic, which extends beyond what a person’s face looks like.

This study seems to show that the white participants used holistic processes due to familiarity when looking at white faces and featural with the black faces. 

 In the PNAS study, they state that the results also suggest that biases for the faces of other races likely begin during the earliest stages of sensory processing, which can have an influence on “intergroup perceptions.” 

 “Individuals should not be let off the hook for their prejudicial attitudes just because we see evidence of biases in visual perception,” Hughes added. “To the contrary, these race biases in perception are malleable and subject to individual motivations and goals, and as such are subject to change.”

 To put it plainly, saying “I don’t see race” can now be scientifically debunked but it also can’t be used as an excuse for prejudice.

The ultimate takeaway? Get your babies around people who don’t look like everyone in their family folks, and you’ll build a better world.

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Things That Matter

A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Photo via @the_asian_dawn/Instagram

In another incident that highlights the anti-Asian sentiment that is on the rise in recent months, a 70-year-old California woman was attacked in Eagle Rock, earlier this month. According to news reports, a young woman attacked her while she was exiting the bus to pick up groceries.

The elderly woman, who goes by Becky, is Mexican-American. But her attacker yelled an anti-Asian slur at her before physically assaulting her.

According to AAPI news site Asian Dawn, Becky’s attacker was a 23-year-old woman who was also riding the bus with her. The woman did nothing to provoke the attack. The young woman ended up dragging the older woman from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Becky ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, two severely swollen eyes, and chunks of her hair torn from her head.

According to Becky’s son, who only goes by Pete, while the family are Mexican-American, people often mistake their family for being of Asian descent. According to Pete, no one intervened to stop the young woman from attacking his mother.

“Nobody would help. Not even the bus driver,” the woman’s son told The Eastsider.

Finally, the young woman stopped her attack after a fellow passenger called 911. The police were able to apprehend the young woman after issuing a bulletin for her arrest.

According to Pete, his mother has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Already suffering from lupus and arthritis, her mother is having trouble walking. Her leg is badly bruised from the assault.

The fact that the victim was Mexican-American serves to illustrate how ignorant and hateful these racist attacks are. There is no rhyme or reason to hate.

Many are linking the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus originated in Wuhan, China. The violent racists that have been attacking people who appear to be of Asian descent believe that Asian-Americans are somehow personally responsible for the pandemic.

If you to support the #StopAsianHate cause, donate to organizations like gofundme.com/AAPI or the Asian American Legal defense fund here.

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Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Things That Matter

Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Police have taken another Black man’s life, this time it’s 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Protests have broken out in cities across the country as the nation reacts to the killing of yet another young Black man.

But as the nation reacts to the murder, Wright’s family – his mother and child – need all the support they can get right now and thankfully there are many ways that we can all be better allies while helping support the family that Wright leaves behind.

Daunte Wright is the third high-profile police murder in Minneapolis.

Daunte Wright was driving to his older brother’s house with his girlfriend on Sunday afternoon, when police pulled him over for expired tags. Police said they found an existing warrant for Wright’s arrest and attempted to handcuff him.

Bodycam footage revealed Officer Kim Potter shot Wright when she claimed to be reaching for her taser. He died on the scene, just 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd.

According to CNN, Daunte’s death is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man at the hands of police in Minnesota in the last five years. And Daunte Wright’s death comes less than a year after the police killing of George Floyd, which sparked protests around the world.

Daunte Wright leaves behind a family still struggling with such an immense loss.

Daunte’s mother, Katie Wright, spoke out about the fear he experienced before his death. Daunte called her after the police pulled him over, at the suggestion of his older brother. “I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice. But I don’t know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did,” Katie told Good Morning America on April 13.

According to Katie, Daunte believed he was getting pulled over for his hanging air fresheners, then she heard “scuffling” and an officer told him to hang up the phone. “I tried to call back three, four times and the girl that was with him answered the phone and she said that they shot him and he was lying in the driver’s seat unresponsive.”

If you’d like to help support Daunte’s family and demand justice, below are a few resources and action items:

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